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Silence Obtains Important Patent Protection for Lead Internal Development Compound, Atu027
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
London -- Silence Therapeutics plc (AIM: SLN), a leading European RNAi focused biotechnology company, today announces new intellectual property cover for its lead product, Atu027. The European Patent Office announced on July 17, 2008 that it intends to grant a European patent covering Silence's lead internal product candidate. This patent will give Silence broad exclusivity not only for Atu027, but for any siRNA targeting protein kinase N beta.
The notice is based on European patent application EP 03 790 894.4. The claims deemed allowable by the European Patent Office are directed to various aspects of the use of protein kinase N beta, the gene target of Atu027. Among others, the claims are related to any siRNA molecule, including Atu027, directed against protein kinase N beta for use in the treatment of numerous cancers involving the PI3-kinase pathway. Other claims are related to the use of protein kinase N beta for screening purposes and its use as a downstream target of the PI3-kinase pathway.
Atu027 is a proprietary AtuRNAi molecule currently in development for solid cancer indications, including gastrointestinal and lung cancers. The candidate is designed to silence the function of a novel kinase protein involved in tumour growth and metastases and utilizes Silence Therapeutics's proprietary drug delivery system AtuPLEX to deliver active drug into the appropriate cells following systemic administration.
"The protection of targets through composition of matter patents is an important part of our patent strategy," said Iain Ross, Chairman and CEO of Silence Therapeutics. "The notice of intent to grant represents a significant step forward for the Group in both its own programs and those of its collaborators, as it provides intellectual property cover not only for the Company's lead product, Atu027, but also broad exclusivity for any siRNA targeting protein kinase N beta."
About Silence Therapeutics plc (www.silence-therapeutics.com)
Silence Therapeutics plc (AIM: SLN) is a leading European RNAi focused biotechnology company. RNAi can selectively 'silence' genes linked to the onset of disease. RNAi is a Nobel Prize winning technology and one of the most promising areas of drug discovery and development today.
Silence Therapeutics has developed a platform of novel short interfering RNA ('siRNA') molecules, AtuRNAi, which provide a number of advantages over conventional siRNA molecules, including increased stability against nuclease degradation. In addition, the Company has developed a proprietary systemic delivery system, AtuPLEX. This system enables the functional delivery of siRNA molecules to targeted diseased tissues and cells, while increasing their bioavailability and intracellular uptake.
Silence's lead internal product, Atu027, is a proprietary AtuRNAi molecule in preclinical development for systemic cancer indications. Atu027 has successfully completed single and repeat dose toxicology and geno-toxicology studies, as well as a 28-day toxicology study using multiple dosing regimens. Silence plans a regulatory filing in 2008 to commence clinical trials for Atu027.
In March 2008, Silence Therapeutics announced a collaboration with AstraZeneca (LSE: AZN) focused on the development of a range of novel delivery approaches for siRNA molecules. Under the terms of the agreement both Silence Therapeutics and AstraZeneca will be allowed to commercialize the truly novel delivery systems that the two partners develop together.
In July 2007, Silence Therapeutics formed its first research and development collaboration with AstraZeneca to develop novel AtuRNAi therapeutics against five specific targets, including those in respiratory indications. This collaboration was the first industry validation of the potential application of Silence Therapeutics' proprietary AtuRNAi molecules and solidified the Company's leadership position in field of RNAi therapeutics.
The Company's AtuRNAi technology also has been sublicensed to Pfizer via Quark's license to them of the compound RTP-801i-14 for the treatment of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and a number of other indications. This compound entered the clinic in early 2007. Silence Therapeutics also has licensed to Quark rights to the AtuRNAi structure for Quark's proprietary compound, AKIi-5, which is in a Phase I human clinical study for treatment of acute kidney injury.
Silence Therapeutics is based in London, UK, and Berlin, Germany, and is listed on AIM.
RNA interference (RNAi), is a Nobel Prize winning technology and one of the most exciting areas of drug discovery today. It represents a completely new approach to selectively 'silence' or inactivate disease relevant genes and as such it has the potential to create a new class of therapeutic products. RNAi could therefore offer a therapeutic approach to a broad range of diseases (cancer, infectious diseases, inherited diseases), many of which have been regarded as incurable and are not addressed by current therapeutics, therefore providing a large market opportunity.
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.
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