Benitec Ltd reports that the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has issued a Notice of Allowance on 25 July 2011 for US Patent Application 10/821,726 "Synthetic Genes and Genetic Constructs" (‘726).
The allowed claims of ‘726 are complementary to those of the foundational and re-issued ‘099 Graham patent and, as such, provide Benitec with even greater patent protection for use of its DNA-directed RNA interference (ddRNAi) gene silencing technology for human therapeutic applications.
The claimed constructs have two sequences which are identical to a “region of a target gene in an animal cell”. The “target gene” is not limited in scope.
Dr Peter French, CEO of Benitec said “Benitec has seen several significant patents granted or allowed over the past 12 months in the US, Europe and other jurisdictions. This has greatly turned around Benitec’s position to a point where we once again dominate the gene silencing landscape using ddRNAi. This latest allowance solidly cements that position, and increases the value of Benitec’s patent assets.
“ddRNAi has the potential to permanently silence any genes involved in chronic life threatening disease, and as such is likely to provide the basis for development of a broad range of novel human therapeutics. These patent decisions provide confidence to our existing and potential sub-licensees” he said.
Typically, a granted patent is issued by the USPTO about 4-6 months after a Notice of Allowance.
CSIRO and Benitec are currently awaiting decisions from the USPTO on three other pending applications within the Graham patent family. These applications contain claims that would further strengthen Benitec’s dominant position in ddRNAi.