Tekmira Pharmaceuticals Corporation (TSX:TKM), a leading developer of RNA interference (RNAi) therapeutics, announced today that the United States Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) has issued three key patents covering portions of Tekmira's technology.
The patents protect aspects of Tekmira's leading lipid nanoparticle technology (LNP), which are used to deliver nucleic acid drugs, including small interfering RNA (siRNA).
Dr. Mark J. Murray, Tekmira's President and CEO, said, "Tekmira's LNP formulations are the gold standard for siRNA delivery and the issuance of these patents is a key step in the successful commercialization of this technology by Tekmira and our partners. We have been investing in LNP technology for a decade and have established a solid foundation of intellectual property and a leading position in the field of nucleic acid drug development."
"These new patents cover key components of our LNP technology, which is already well validated in preclinical studies and is currently part of multiple clinical development programs sponsored by Tekmira and Tekmira's partners. We continue to build on this research with the aim of strengthening our RNAi drug development platform and that of our partners using LNP technology, the most widely used in the industry," added Dr. Murray.
Specifically, the USPTO has issued claims in three patents covering LNP formulations and lipid components used in Tekmira's LNP formulations. This includes two issued patents covering the cationic lipid DLinDMA and related cationic lipid analogues (U.S. Patent No. 7,745,651) as well as LNP formulations containing these novel cationic lipids (U.S. Patent No. 7,799,565). DLinDMA and a family of cationic lipids derived from DLinDMA are key components of Tekmira's LNP technology and are used in current LNP formulations in clinical development. This intellectual property is based on research by Tekmira scientists on the role of cationic lipids in the systemic delivery of RNAi therapeutics as published in Heyes et al., J. Control Release, 107(2):276-87.
The third issued patent covers a class of lipid conjugates, PEG-C-DAAs (U.S. Patent No. 7,803,397). PEG-C-DAAs are another critical component of Tekmira's LNP technology that are important in the manufacturing and stability of LNP formulations and the performance of the formulations in vivo. These conjugates are also used in current LNP formulations in clinical development.