Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Nasdaq: ALNY), a leading RNAi therapeutics company, announced today that the United States Patent Office (USPTO) has allowed a patent (Application No. 10/560,336) for the Woppmann et al. patent series, entitled "Double-stranded ribonucleic acid with increased effectiveness in an organism." The newly allowed patent includes 31 claims broadly covering compositions and methods, including pharmaceutical compositions, for small interfering RNAs (siRNAs), the molecules that mediate RNAi.
“Double-stranded ribonucleic acid with increased effectiveness in an organism.”
The Woppmann patent stems from the early research performed at Ribopharma AG, the world's first-ever RNAi therapeutics company founded in June, 2000. Alnylam acquired Ribopharma in 2003, which then became Alnylam Europe AG. The operations of Alnylam Europe AG were acquired by Roche in 2007 as part of their broad RNAi therapeutics alliance with Alnylam.
"We are pleased with the decision by the USPTO to allow these new claims from the Woppmann et al. patent series, which we believe covers important design features for the development of RNAi therapeutics. This patent derives from the early and comprehensive research performed at Ribopharma AG that characterized design, length, and motif features of siRNAs," said Barry Greene, President and Chief Operating Officer of Alnylam. "This new U.S. patent continues to broaden the scope of our intellectual property portfolio covering compositions, methods, and uses of RNAi therapeutics."
The claims for the newly allowed patent cover compositions and methods for siRNAs, including:
- a double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) of any length having effectiveness in inhibiting a target gene by RNAi;
- "overhang" and "blunt-end" design features and certain nucleotide pair motifs; and,
- a 19-28 nucleotide region of the antisense strand that is complementary to the target gene.
Alnylam's IP position is comprised of fundamental, chemistry, delivery, and target patents and patent applications that the company believes are necessary for the development and commercialization of RNAi therapeutics. In aggregate, Alnylam owns or has in-licensed over 1,800 active patent cases, of which over 700 have issued or been granted worldwide, and over 300 have issued or been granted in the U.S., Europe, or Japan, the world's largest pharmaceutical markets.
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