US PTO approves Isis and Alnylam’s new RNAi claims

By Staff Reporter

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Rna Alnylam

US drugmakers developers Isis and Alnylam say the US PTO has allowed 75 new claims relating to the development of RNAi drugs.

RNA interference (RNAi) blocks protein production without the problems of strand invasion and triple helix formation common to gene silencing. Although there are delivery hurdles still to be overcome, the technology is seen as having considerable potential.

The methods covered by Isis and Alnylam’s new patents focus on using double stranded RNA containing compounds to stimulate RNA nuclease enzymes to cut messenger RNA (mRNA) targets, which is critical to the success of RNAi drugs.

The claims are part of the Crooke family patents, which are owned by Isis and used by Alnylam under a 2004 license. The estate which, with the latest additions now comprises some 1,600 claims, covers the design and use of RNA targeting drugs.

Stanley Crooke, Isis CEO, said: “We are very pleased that the US Patent Office has acknowledged these new claims, which will expand the coverage of the Crooke patent series. This series continues to provide broad protection against competitors who are developing RNA-based drugs, including siRNAs​.”

He added that: “We believe that we have an unparalleled intellectual property estate in the field of RNA therapeutics. Because we continue to innovate and advance our technology, we plan to continue to extend our basic patent protections on our drugs and our technologies​.”

Alnylam CEO John Maraganore was similarly upbeat, explaining that the award is in keeping with his firm’s strategic efforts to consolidate its intellectual property ahead of development and commercialisation of its RNAi therapeutics portfolio.

Maraganore added that: “Our patent licenses from Isis, including the Crooke patent estate, form a key component of Alnylam’s intellectual property position in the field.

The allowance of these new claims in the Crooke patent estate clearly validates this strategy and strengthens our efforts and those of our partners to bring RNAi therapeutics to patients​.”

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