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Silence Therapeutics shores up chemical modification patent estate in US

09:19 EDT 31 Jul 2017 | Proactive Investors

Silence Therapeutics PLC (LON:SLN) has broadened its patent estate in the US with the grant of further protection over its chemical modification technology. It is part of an ongoing process as it eyes companies with drugs in clinical trials that may be piggybacking on its intellectual property. “In allowing this additional patent application for grant, the US Patent and Trade Mark Office has continued to uphold the validity of our expanding US patent estate,” said chief executive Ali Mortazavi.  “We continue to believe that several third party late‐stage clinical RNAi candidates require licences under our patent portfolio.” The company is a pioneer in RNA interference (RNAi). This is the cellular process of silencing unwanted or harmful genes. It’s the second US patents announcement the company has made in the last seven days. Speaking to Proactive Investors, Laura Roca-Alonso, the head of corporate development at Silence, spared us the intricate details of the chemistry behind what the patents relate to and said the key point was the patent decisions strengthen the company’s portfolio. “It’s basically an expansion of our portfolio around the chemical modification technology that’s become so important in the RNAi field,” Roca-Alonso said. “What it means for us is that now we have more and more patents that are relevant to other people, so it’s not a question of us having one patent that can do one thing,” she explained. Silence works on a business model that entails licensing its technology to drug developers, and as such protecting its intellectual property is vitally important to the company. READ Silence Therapeutics notes positive Phase II study results by licensee Quark Pharmaceutical for prevention of Acute Kidney Injury READ Silence Therapeutics issues intellectual property claim in the UK which could see its European patent protection extended on certain products Roca-Alonso drew attention to a stock market announcement last month in which it issued an intellectual property claim in the UK High Courts of Justice against Alnylam UK Ltd, Alnylam Pharmaceuticals Inc, and The Medicines Co UK Ltd that could see its European patent protection extended. The claim asks the court to determine whether Silence is entitled to supplementary protection certificates in Europe on several late stage Alnylam products, which include Patisiran, Fitusiran, Givosiran and Inclisiran, which were developed with partner, The Medicines Co. Silence believes it is entitled to five-year extensions on exclusive rights to the intellectual property; if the court agrees, “that would be massive in terms of the product being approved in the next couple of years”. Obviously a five-year extension would dramatically increase the period in which Silence would receive licensing fees, and would be “a game changer” for Silence, which is currently valued at a little under £100mln by the market. Silence shares were up 2.5% at 138.4p in lunchtime trading.   --- adds management comment and share price reaction --- 

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