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Silence Therapeutics plc Announces Issuance of New U.S. Patent Broadly Covering Methods for Enhancing Silencing Activity of RNAi Therapeutics


6/9/2010 10:09:13 AM

LONDON, June 9/PRNewswire/ -- Silence Therapeutics plc (AIM: SLN) ("Silence" or the "Company") announces the issuance of United States patent 7,732,593, titled Methods and Compositions For Controlling Efficacy of RNA Silencing, by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The issued patent, which is based on the seminal research of Phillip D. Zamore, Ph.D., Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator, the Gretchen Stone Cook Chair of Biomedical Sciences, and Professor of Biochemistry & Molecular Pharmacology at University of Massachusetts Medical School, generally claims methods of enhancing the RNA silencing activity of RNA interference (RNAi) agents through certain structural modifications. The issued claims not only cover enhancing the efficacy of silencing gene expression using short interfering RNA (siRNA) but also include specific claims directed to micro RNA (miRNA), pre-miRNA, and short hairpin RNA (shRNA).

Silence owns exclusive licenses to three Zamore patent families from the University of Massachusetts Medical School, where Zamore is the co-director of the RNA Therapeutics Institute. These patent families disclose various efficacy-enhancing methods and structural elements for RNAi therapeutics, informally known as the "Zamore design rules" and based on Dr. Zamore's work at UMass. The company expects additional U.S. patent issuances related to this Zamore intellectual property portfolio in the coming months.

"Today's patent issuance continues to highlight the powerful synergies created by the combined assets of Silence and Intradigm. In this case, the exclusive licenses originally owned by Intradigm to the Zamore patent families have provided Silence with valuable structural modification technology that will contribute to further strengthening and expanding the company's comprehensive RNAi therapeutic platform," stated Philip Haworth, Ph.D., chief executive officer of Silence Therapeutics. "There is a growing consensus within the industry regarding the important role of optimized siRNA structure for developing more potent next generation RNAi therapeutics. With exclusive access to the industry leading technology in this area, Silence continues to position itself as the partner-of-choice for pharmaceutical companies with interest in the RNAi space."

Silence Therapeutics is executing a proactive strategy to continue to build and strengthen a diverse and competitive intellectual property portfolio that provides the company and its partners with a strong proprietary position in the RNAi therapeutics space. The company believes that it will continue to make significant progress in these efforts throughout 2010 as it expects a number of additional valuable RNAi patents to be issued in both the United States and Europe during the year. This consistent and meaningful IP portfolio growth reinforces Silence's belief that the company can sustain its position as a preferred partner in RNAi therapeutics. At present, Silence's global patent portfolio contains issued patents and pending applications covering strategic areas of RNAi therapeutic development including multiple proprietary siRNA delivery technologies, potent siRNA sequences specific for high-value disease targets and key RNAi sequence and chemical modifications.

About Silence Therapeutics plc (www.silence-therapeutics.com)

Silence Therapeutics plc (AIM: SLN) is a leading global biotechnology company dedicated to the discovery, development and delivery of targeted, systemic RNA interference (RNAi) therapeutics for the treatment of serious diseases. The company possesses multiple proprietary short interfering RNA (siRNA) delivery technology platforms including AtuPLEX, a system that enables the functional delivery of siRNA molecules to targeted diseased tissues and cells, while increasing their bioavailability and intracellular uptake. A second, complementary delivery technology known as PolyTran uses a library of novel peptide-basedbiodegradable polycationic polymers for systemic siRNA administration. Additionally, the company has a platform of novel siRNA molecules, AtuRNAi, which provide a number of advantages over conventional siRNA molecules, including increased stability against nuclease degradation. Silence's unique RNAi assets also include structural features for a next generation of RNAi molecules and additional proprietary siRNA sequences against more than 50 highly valued oncology and other disease targets.

The company's strong and diverse intellectual property portfolio includes exclusive licenses from the University of Massachusetts Medical School on three patent families associated with the Zamore "Design Rules," which cover broad structural features of siRNA design for more potent next generation siRNA sequences.

Silence Therapeutics is headquartered in London, UK, with research and development operations in Berlin and Palo Alto, CA.

Forward-Looking Statements

This press release includes forward-looking statements that are subject to risks, uncertainties and other factors. These risks and uncertainties could cause actual results to differ materially from those referred to in the forward-looking statements. All forward-looking statements are based on information currently available to Silence Therapeutics and Silence Therapeutics assumes no obligation to update any such forward-looking statements.

SOURCE Silence Therapeutics plc


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