Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, Inc., an RNAi therapeutics company, announced today that the Board of Appeals of the European Patent Office (EPO) has ruled that claims of the Kreutzer-Limmer ‘945 (EP 1214945) patent meet needed requirements under European patent law. The ‘945 patent comprises broad claims covering the length and certain structural requirements for siRNAs that are important for advancement of RNAi therapeutics.
The ‘945 patent is one of a number of patents in the Kreutzer-Limmer estate. Other distinct patents in the family include EP 1550719, or ‘719, which covers siRNAs comprising 15-21 nucleotides in length stabilized by chemical linkages. In addition, patents from the Kreutzer-Limmer patent family have been granted in other countries, including Germany (DE 10080167 and DE 10066235) with claims covering siRNAs with lengths of 15-49 nucleotides. Many additional patents from the Kreutzer-Limmer patent family are pending in the U.S., Japan, and other countries.
“We are very pleased with the outcome of the EPO proceedings today for the Kreutzer-Limmer ‘945 patent,” said Barry Greene, President and Chief Operating Officer of Alnylam. “Alnylam has leveraged its unparalleled intellectual property estate to enable the field with freedom to operate for RNAi therapeutics as evidenced by more than 25 licensing agreements yielding over $700 million in realized cash funding, and we expect this to continue in the future.”
“We are gratified with the EPO ruling today in relation to our early discoveries in the RNAi field,” said Roland Kreutzer, Ph.D., Head of Roche’s Center of Excellence for RNA Therapeutics in Kulmbach, Germany, and an inventor on the Kreutzer-Limmer patent series. “We are very excited about the progress being made in the field of RNAi research and are absolutely committed to advancing RNAi therapeutics to patients. Clearly, a strong IP estate is critical for the success of such an endeavor, and Alnylam and its partners, such as Roche, uniquely enjoy this benefit.”
The claims of the ‘945 patent as maintained cover methods, medicaments and uses of siRNAs with a double-stranded structure (dsRNA) consisting of 15 to 49 nucleotides.