The U.S. patent broadly covers certain chemical modifications of oligonucleotides used to introduce "drug-like" properties in antisense oligonucleotides, including small interfering RNAs (siRNAs), the molecules that mediate RNA interference (RNAi).
The issued patent is owned by Isis and is licensed exclusively to Alnylam for double-stranded RNAi therapeutic applications pursuant to the terms of their 2004 collaboration and license agreement.
"Our intellectual property estate continues to yield issued patents stemming from our pioneering efforts in the discovery and development of RNA-based therapies, including RNAi and other antisense mechanisms," said C. Frank Bennett, Ph.D., Senior Vice President, Research for Isis.
"This new patent is particularly important for the emerging field of RNAi therapeutics, where our strategic alliance with Alnylam has aligned our intellectual property assets with what we believe is the leading company in the field."
"We deeply value our relationship with Isis and recognize the significance of their early contributions to and continued leadership in the field of oligonucleotide therapeutics.
Indeed, our alliance with Isis represents a key component of Alnylam's overall patent estate for the development and commercialization of RNAi therapeutics," said John Maraganore, Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer of Alnylam.
"This newly issued patent broadly covers certain chemical modifications that are used to improve potency, stability, and selectivity of siRNAs, including so-called 'no-ribose' or 'siNA' derivatives."
The new '517 patent stems from the Cook patent series that includes three previously issued U.S. patents and its claims broadly cover oligonucleotide compositions containing more than one 2'-ribose modifications such as 2'-O-methyl and 2'-fluoro groups.
These chemical modifications can be used to improve potency and stability of siRNAs and can also be used to optimize their selectivity.