Monday, April 03, 2006

Sirna Shaking It Up

Lot’s of news coming from Sirna Therapeutics Inc., this Monday morning. First RNAI announced today that the USPTO will issue U.S. Patent No. 7,022,828 on April 4, 2006. This is the first siRNA target patent issued in the United States and sets an important precedent for Sirna's entire target patent portfolio.

The patent covers any chemically modified siRNA targeting I Kappa B kinase-gamma (IKK-gamma). Importantly, the claims of the patent are not limited to a specific siRNA sequence but cover any siRNA sequence used against the gene. In addition, the claims of this patent are not limited to a specific type of chemical modification or structure but cover any chemical modification that can be made to the siRNA. The patent covers blunt-ended siRNAs as well as those with one or more nucleotide overhangs. IKK-gamma is an activator of the NF-kappaB pathway (NF-kb), an important mediator in a host of diseases, such as asthma, arthritis, cancer, chronic inflammation, neurodegenerative diseases and heart disease.

Secondly, GlaxoSmithKline said it will pay Sirna a $12 million upfront, and potentially more than $700 million in milestones, to enter into an exclusive multi-year alliance focused on discovery, development and commercialization of novel RNA interference therapies for respiratory diseases. The street responded quite well to these announcements in pre-market and are sustaining enthusiasm as the trading day continues.

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