US Patent Office affirms 'Zamore Design Rule' patents

December 12, 2011

The United States Patent and Trademark Office has reaffirmed the validity of four important patents in the field of RNA therapeutics.

The affirmation validates the inventions known as the "Zamore Design Rules," compositions and methods of designing double stranded RNAi agents having decreased off-target silencing activity through certain structural modifications. The discoveries underlying these inventions were made by Phillip D. Zamore, PhD, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator, co-director of the RNA Therapeutics Institute and the Gretchen Stone Cook Professor of Biomedical Sciences and professor of biochemistry and at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester. This portfolio is currently licensed to Silence Therapeutics. The four are: US 7,459,547, US 7,732,593, US 7,772,203 and US 7,750,144.

Silence holds exclusive licenses to the "Zamore Design Rule" patent families in the human health care field from the University of Massachusetts Medical School. These patent families disclose various efficacy-enhancing methods and structural elements for RNAi therapeutics.

The ability to minimize the off-target effects of RNAi therapeutics is critical for limiting unwanted and/or potential safety concerns. The decisively reaffirmed patents cover reducing off-target gene expression silencing using short interfering RNA (siRNA) and specific claims directed to microRNA (miRNA).

"We are very pleased that the USPTO has reissued these four patents," said Thomas Christély, Chief Executive Officer of Silence Therapeutics. "This outcome sends a clear message regarding the strength of Silence's intellectual property. We believe that there is significant value in the Zamore technology as a fundamental tool for the development and commercialization of RNAi therapeutics with enhanced efficacy and will continue to work to translate this value into our own RNAi therapeutic pipeline."

The "Zamore Design Rules" describe methods of enhancing the ability of an antisense strand of an RNAi agent to act as a guide strand; codify RNAi and siRNA agents for enhancing silencing of a target mRNA in an organism; and cover the composition of duplexes, pre-miRNA and shRNA in the process of RNA interference. The rules allow scientists to determine how effective and specific the RNA interference process will be in a given application, and are fundamental to the creation of RNA –based therapeutics.

"The initial granting of these patents was a significant milestone in the translation of the basic science of RNA interference into the real world of RNA therapeutics," said Dr. Zamore. "The unequivocal affirmation of the intellectual basis of these discoveries by the US Patent Office clears up any misapprehension about the origins of these discoveries, and we are excited that laboratories and research organizations around the world have had the benefit of using this science to work toward therapeutics to treat human disease."

Related Stories

Recommended for you

New 'Tissue Velcro' could help repair damaged hearts

August 28, 2015

Engineers at the University of Toronto just made assembling functional heart tissue as easy as fastening your shoes. The team has created a biocompatible scaffold that allows sheets of beating heart cells to snap together ...

Fertilization discovery: Do sperm wield tiny harpoons?

August 26, 2015

Could the sperm harpoon the egg to facilitate fertilization? That's the intriguing possibility raised by the University of Virginia School of Medicine's discovery that a protein within the head of the sperm forms spiky filaments, ...

Research identifies protein that regulates body clock

August 26, 2015

New research into circadian rhythms by researchers at the University of Toronto Mississauga shows that the GRK2 protein plays a major role in regulating the body's internal clock and points the way to remedies for jet lag ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.