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SR Pharma Granted Core RNAi Patent by the European Patent Office

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SR Pharma has announces that the European Patent Office has granted the Company its core RNAi patent EP 03784183.0.  This patent covers its stabilised, small interfering RNA (siRNA) molecules with positional modifications.

These proprietary siRNA molecules are referred to as ‘AtuRNAi’ by SR Pharma.

According to SR Pharma, this is the first patent to be granted for this class of stable siRNA molecules and provides it with freedom to operate within the RNAi therapeutics field.

The 38 claims in the patent cover AtuRNAi structures that have a well defined positional arrangement of modified nucleotides.  These siRNA molecules developed by SR Pharma can have advantages over conventional siRNA molecules including stability against nuclease degradation.

These AtuRNAi compounds form the basis of SR Pharma’s own therapeutic development pipeline which is focused on cancer indications.

The SR Pharma is expecting its first clinical trials in the cancer field to start in 2007.

These molecules also form the basis of the group’s licence and collaboration agreement with Quark Biotech Inc. and the recently announced sublicense to Pfizer Inc.

Dr Klaus Giese, Chief Scientific Officer of SR Pharma said “This patent is a major step forward for SR Pharma.  The broad coverage that we have gained for our novel AtuRNAi molecules reflects our significant understanding of RNAi chemistry.”

“We are confident that we will be able to gain a similar level of patent protection for our AtuRNAi molecules from the US patent office during the course of 2007.”

Iain Ross, Chairman of SR Pharma, said: “This patent provides us with the freedom to operate within this exciting area of science and validates our unique technology approach.  It also puts us in a much stronger position to conclude licensing and corporate development deals which we expect to play a crucial role in our goal to become a global leader in the development of RNAi therapeutics.”