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RNA / Oligonucleotide Technology

Over 20 years after the discovery of small interfering RNA (siRNA), oligonucleotide therapeutics are becoming ever more important tools in the fight against disease. Some antisense and small interfering RNA (siRNA) oligonucleotide therapeutics are already approved by the FDA with many more in the pipeline. As the field has developed, the number of related patent applications has grown substantially. J A Kemp has extensive experience in both prosecution and inter partes proceedings relating to this technology, dating back as far as the opposition proceedings in the early “Tuschl patents”. This in-depth experience allows us to provide solid commercial advice.

These cases often face unique challenges. For instance, due to the relative novelty of the technology, examiners often operate in the absence of specific guidance from courts or appeal boards in this area. Examiners may also be less familiar with the technology compared to more mature fields such as antibodies. We find that the standard for patentability, in particular non-obviousness, is often set very high by examiners, making this a particularly challenging field in which to secure patent protection.

Our in depth experience makes us well-placed to address the specific challenges in this field. Starting at the drafting stage with specific strategies to pre-empt potential pitfalls that may occur in examination, we advise clients at every stage of prosecution, opposition and appeal proceedings. Our work in this area is also complimented by our extensive vaccines practice.