Alnylam Licenses Fundamental Patent In RNA Interference To Invitrogen
Cambridge, MA - January 13, 2004 - Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, Inc., the leading RNAi therapeutics company, today announced that its German affiliate, Ribopharma AG, has granted Invitrogen Corporation a non-exclusive license to provide research products and services under a patent family in RNA interference (RNAi) owned by Alnylam. The licensed intellectual property, which includes European patent 1 144 623, covers the use of short double-stranded RNAs to mediate RNAi.
"We are delighted to have a powerhouse like Invitrogen be the first company to sign up for a research products license to this intellectual property," said Vincent Miles, Ph.D. Senior Vice President, Business Development of Alnylam. "We believe this license will further encourage broad use of RNAi by the research community as a tool to silence genes, leading to additional insights that will enhance our efforts to develop RNAi therapeutics." "After careful review, we decided to license this IP from Alnylam because they have obtained issued patents in this family," explained Nikki Zahl, Director of Invitrogen's RNAi business group. "It is important for us to convey to our customers the ability to use these tools in their RNAi research."
RNA interference, or RNAi, is a naturally occurring mechanism within cells for selectively silencing specific genes, an ability that could become the basis for a whole new class of therapeutic products. The discovery of RNAi has been heralded by many as a major breakthrough, and Science Magazine named RNAi the top scientific achievement of 2002 as well as one of the top ten scientific advances of 2003. Because many diseases are caused by the inappropriate activity of specific genes, the ability to silence such genes selectively through RNAi could provide a means to treat a wide range of human diseases. The RNAi mechanism was recently discovered, in part, by the scientific founders of Alnylam, who showed that RNAi is mediated by a molecule known as a small interfering RNA, or siRNA, and that chemically-synthesized siRNAs made in the laboratory can be introduced into cells and silence the activity of specific genes. Alnylam is developing chemically-synthesized siRNAs as potential drugs for a variety of diseases.
Alnylam, the leading RNAi therapeutics company, is harnessing the natural mechanism of RNAi to build a deep pipeline of products with the potential to treat a wide range of human diseases. Growing from its foundation as the world's first company focused on RNAi therapeutics, the company is built around the leading capabilities of its two operating units, Alnylam Pharmaceuticals of Cambridge, Massachusetts, and Ribopharma AG of Kulmbach, Germany. The company's leadership in the field of RNAi is supported by its preeminent founders and advisors and its strengths in fundamental patents, technology, and know-how that underlie the commercialization of RNAi therapeutics. The company's focus is to develop a pipeline of RNAi products using both Direct RNAiTM and Systemic RNAiTM approaches to treat a broad range of diseases, including central nervous system, metabolic, ocular, viral, oncologic, and autoimmune diseases. The company's global headquarters are in Cambridge, MA.
Invitrogen Corporation (Nasdaq: IVGN) provides products and services that support academic and government research institutions and pharmaceutical and biotech companies worldwide in their efforts to improve the human condition. The company provides essential life science technologies for disease research, drug discovery, and commercial bioproduction. Invitrogen's own research and development efforts are focused on breakthrough innovation in all major areas of biological discovery including functional genomics, proteomics, bio-informatics and cell biology -- placing Invitrogen's products in nearly every major laboratory in the world. Founded in 1987, Invitrogen is headquartered in Carlsbad, California and conducts business in more than 70 countries around the world. The company globally employs approximately 3,000 scientists and other professionals. For more information about Invitrogen, visit the company's web site at www.invitrogen.com.