A Medical Device Daily

Intradigm (Palo Alto, California), a developer of targeted, systemic RNA interference (RNAi) therapeutics, reported that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has allowed U.S. patent application 10/859,337 which generally claims methods of enhancing the RNA-silencing activity of an RNAi agent in a mammalian or plant cell.

The allowed subject matter is not only focused on claims to siRNAs but also includes specific coverage for micro RNAs (miRNAs), miRNA precursors, primary miRNA transcripts and short hairpin RNA (shRNA). The allowed application, based on the seminal research by Philip Zamore, Ph.D., is one of several applications disclosing certain efficacy-enhancing structural elements of RNAis that Intradigm exclusively licensed from the University of Massachusetts Medical School (Worcester).

"We are very pleased that the USPTO has recognized the novel and valuable research conducted by University of Massachusetts Medical School researchers into the rapidly evolving field of RNA interference," said James McNamara, PhD, executive director of the Office of Technology Management at the medical school. "Based on the work conducted in our laboratories, we believe that the claims covered by this allowed patent application have the potential to play an important role in helping to realize the tremendous therapeutic promise of RNA Interference."

Strengthened by recent IP licensing deals with UMass and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT; Cambridge), Intradigm said it now possesses one of the industry's strongest RNAi IP positions. The firm's estate of issued patents broadly covers structural features for a next generation of RNAi molecules, biodegradable polycationic polymers for the delivery of RNAi therapeutics, and proprietary siRNA sequence applications.