Benitec Ltd (ASX:BLT), an Australian biotechnology company focused on gene silencing for human therapeutics is edging closer to a resolution on its long-running re-examination proceedings for an important platform technology patent.
The US Patent office recently announced its intention to issue an ex parte re-examination certificate US Patent 6,573,099 which covers the use of expressed RNAi in human therapeutic application.
Gene silencing is widely credited as one of the most significant advances in the last decade, with the potential to stop viruses like HIV and hepatitis.
Benitec’s CEO, Dr Peter French, said “This Notice, and other previously announced patent developments, clear the way for us to leverage our dominant patent estate globally in expressed RNA interference.” “We are continuing to advance a broad pipeline of expressed RNAi-based therapeutic programs in oncology and infectious disease with particular focus on hepatitis B, lung cancer and cancer-associated neuropathic pain,” Dr French added. Benitec has exclusive rights to key claims in expressed RNAi for humans in most major jurisdictions including the US, the UK, Japan and China. Jan Bingley, General Manager, IP and Licensing - CSIRO Operations also welcomed the news saying “CSIRO is very pleased to see that this important patent will be reissued so that the potential therapeutic benefits of this transformational technology can be realised.”
Benitec shares soared in September when the US Patent Office’s Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences reversed their previous rejections of the “Control of Gene Expression” patent.
Benitec was established in 1997 to commercialise research from Queensland’s Department of Primary Industries. It has a market capitalisation of $15M and its share price closed yesterday at 3c
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