Hybridon Inc. of Worcester, Mass., said Wednesday the Patentand Trademark Office has allowed it the first patent applicationclaiming certain novel antisense oligonucleotides and their usein treating influenza A virus infections.

Hybridon holds a U.S. patent on the use of antisenseoligonucleotide compounds against HIV infection. Antisenseoligonucleotides are synthetic pieces of DNA. Hybridon'santisense compound is designed to bind with viral RNA toprevent the synthesis of that essential protein, thusterminating growth and replication.

Hybridon is in preclinical development with GEM 122, its leadinfluenza A antisense oligonucleotide compound. An FDAapplication to evaluate this compound in patients is planned for1993. There are approximately 130,000 cases of influenzainfection per year requiring hospitalization in the U.S., and 3.5million infected nursing home and elderly home care patientsin the U.S.

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