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Patent Application Licensed to RXi Pharmaceuticals Issues in Australia with Broad Claims to Expressed RNAi

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RXi Pharmaceuticals Corporation has announced the grant of an Australian patent issued to the University of Massachusetts Medical School covering in vivo production of small interfering RNA (siRNA) that mediate gene silencing.

The granted claims of the patent cover siRNA molecules and their use in methods for inducing RNA interference of a target gene in mammalian cells in vivo.

RXi has an exclusive license to this patent for specific therapeutic fields and gene targets, including the use of siRNA technology to inhibit the human cytomegalovirus (HCMV), the most common intraocular infection in patients with AIDS; the mutant SOD1 gene shown to cause familial ALS in an animal model; and gene targets associated with type 2 diabetes and obesity.

Craig C. Mello, Ph.D., RXi co-founder and Scientific Advisory Board chairman, and the 2006 Noble Laureate recipient for co-discovering RNAi; and Phillip D. Zamore, Ph.D., Alnylam Pharmaceuticals co-founder and Scientific Advisory Board member; were among the RNAi pioneers authoring this patent.

“This is an excellent example of a patent that offers broad coverage and leverage in the field of RNAi therapeutics,” said Tod Woolf, Ph.D., RXi President and CEO.

“Through our licensing agreement with our founders’ institutions, we have access to many pending and issued patent claims. This technology’s addition further broadens our RNAi intellectual property portfolio. Gaining early intellectual property is particularly gratifying given the conservative climate for patents being issued in the RNAi therapeutics field. We envision that expressed RNAi, while not currently our primary focus, may present future opportunities for RXi,” Woolf added.