BOTHELL, WA--(Marketwire - January 23, 2012) - Marina Biotech, Inc. (NASDAQ: MRNAD), a leading oligonucleotide-based drug discovery and development company today announced that the Intellectual Property Office of New Zealand (IPONZ) has issued a Notice of Acceptance for patent application 580712. The claims broadly cover multiple sequence independent and length independent, nucleic acid constructs having one or more unlocked nucleobase analogs (UNAs). The nucleic acid constructs of the patent include both RISC and dicer length siRNAs, both microRNA mimetics and microRNA antagomirs as well as single-stranded oligonucleotides.
"The company continues to deliver on a patent strategy which expands and protects our broad oligonucleotide therapeutics platform," stated J. Michael French, President and CEO at Marina Biotech. "This allowed patent is part of our global UNA patent portfolio providing broad and comprehensive protection for multiple, distinct UNA containing nucleic acid constructs all of which can modulate gene expression through distinct cellular mechanisms including RNAi, mRNA translational inhibition, steric blocking or microRNA pathways. This patent allowance reinforces our belief that we will continue to obtain patent protection for our UNA technology in other countries thereby strengthening the company's intellectual property position for our broad oligonucleotide drug discovery platform."
UNA are non-nucleotide, acyclic monomers which provide greater structural flexibility in a nucleic acid strand. Their value has been demonstrated in Marina Biotech's proprietary UsiRNA constructs which are double-stranded small interfering RNA (siRNA) incorporating at least one UNA monomer and are distinct from the standard siRNA constructs used by others in the industry. UsiRNAs are specifically designed to provide greater specificity for RNAi-based therapeutics. Substitution with UNA in the passenger strand (non-targeting strand) is intended to eliminate its participation in the RNAi process. Substitution in the guide strand (targeting strand) is intended to eliminate miRNA-like events, while preserving high siRNA-like activity. Optimization of UNA substitutions in siRNA has previously been published by Merck & Co. (Nucleic Acids Res. 2010 38 (2): 660-671) and Marina Biotech (Nucleic Acids Res. 2011 Mar;39(5):1823-32).
About Marina Biotech, Inc.
Marina Biotech is a biotechnology company focused on the development and commercialization of oligonucleotide-based therapeutics utilizing multiple mechanisms of action including RNA interference (RNAi) and messenger RNA translational blocking. The Marina Biotech pipeline currently includes a clinical program in Familial Adenomatous Polyposis (a precancerous syndrome) and two preclinical programs -- in bladder cancer and malignant ascites. Marina Biotech entered into an exclusive agreement with The Debiopharm Group for the development and commercialization of the bladder cancer program. In addition, Marina Biotech has recently entered into an agreement with Mirna Therapeutics to license its SMARTICLES® technology for the delivery of microRNA mimics. Marina Biotech's goal is to improve human health through the development of RNAi- and oligonucleotide-based compounds and drug delivery technologies that together provide superior therapeutic options for patients. Additional information about Marina Biotech is available at http://www.marinabio.com.
Statements made in this news release may be forward-looking statements within the meaning of Federal Securities laws that are subject to certain risks and uncertainties and involve factors that may cause actual results to differ materially from those projected or suggested. Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those in forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to: (i) the ability of Marina Biotech to obtain additional funding; (ii) the ability of Marina Biotech to attract and/or maintain manufacturing, research, development and commercialization partners; (iii) the ability of Marina Biotech and/or a partner to successfully complete product research and development, including preclinical and clinical studies and commercialization; (iv) the ability of Marina Biotech and/or a partner to obtain required governmental approvals; and (v) the ability of Marina Biotech and/or a partner to develop and commercialize products prior to, and that can compete favorably with those of, competitors. Additional factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those projected or suggested in any forward-looking statements are contained in Marina Biotech's most recent periodic reports on Form 10-K and Form 10-Q that are filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Marina Biotech assumes no obligation to update and supplement forward-looking statements because of subsequent events.