SomaGenics Granted New Patents for RNA Detection and RNA-based Therapeutics Technologies

SANTA CRUZ, Calif., November 2016 – SomaGenics, an RNA-focused biotechnology company, announced expansion of its intellectual property portfolio with issue of two new patents for its RNA analysis technologies (miR-ID® and RealSeq®) and European patent protection for its therapeutic short synthetic hairpin RNA (sshRNA) agents.

MiR-ID®, SomaGenics’ core technology for quantitative real-time PCR, enables accurate analysis of microRNAs (miRNAs) and single-nucleotide discrimination of isoforms and isomiRs.  The miR-ID® technology benefits from the ability to position reverse transcription and PCR primers anywhere along the target molecule to distinguish single nucleotide differences.  Such distinction has not been achieved reliably with other methods, especially for modifications at 3’ and 5’ ends of miRNAs.  The newly issued US Patent No. 9,416,402 B2 is a continuation of US Patent 8,962,253 and further strengthens the miR-ID® IP portfolio. 

The second issued continuation (U.S. 9,493,818) broadens coverage of SomaGenics’ RealSeq® platform which enables the preparation of small RNA sequencing libraries with dramatically reduced incorporation bias.  RealSeq®’s distinctive feature is a single combo-adaptor molecule that ligates to RNA ends more efficiently than other adapter designs.  Both RealSeq® and miR-ID® are also protected by international patents.  “The discovery rate and anticipated clinical utility of miRNAs and their isomiRs and isoforms is steadily increasing.  For the development of miRNAs as biomarkers, sensitive and unbiased detection by next-generation sequencing and accurate qPCR validation are essential,” explained Dr. Brian Johnston, CEO/President of SomaGenics.

SomaGenics’ sshRNA® RNA interference technology received coverage in Europe with the grant of European Patent No. EP 2,352,744.  The patented sshRNAs are distinct from conventional short hairpin RNAs in that they interact directly with Argonaute-2 (Ago-2) without prior processing by Dicer.  This feature avoids off-target effects.  Notably, sshRNAs have also been shown to have outstanding potency and pharmacokinetic properties without undesirable immune stimulation.  In the US this technology is protected by Patent Nos. US 8,283,460 and US 8,779,115.  It encompasses the design of SomaGenics’ therapeutic candidates in the areas of chronic wound healing and viral infections. 

“We are excited by the opportunities this expanded patent protection affords.  SomaGenics is actively seeking partners for further development or licensing,” said Johnston.