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The patent refers to the gene target PKN3, protein kinase N beta, targeted by Silence's key development programme Atu027, a liposomal formulation in Phase I clinical development for systemic cancer indications.
More specifically, this new intellectual property covers the use of protein kinase N 3 (PKN3) for screening of therapeutic agents, thus preventing others from using PKN3 for screening purposes.
PKN3 is a protein kinase C-related molecule, involved in the PI3-kinase pathway that is believed to play an important role in the growth of cancer cells, as well as metastasis formation.
PKN3 is the target for Silence's lead compound Atu027, which is being developed for the treatment of advanced solid cancers and which is scheduled to enter clinical trials in 2009.
This latest patent gives Silence an exclusive position not only with Atu027, but also with any siRNA or antisense molecule used to target PKN3 for the treatment of cancer and other diseases.
Atu027 is a proven inhibitor of the expression of PKN3, a molecule that is believed to play an important role in the progression of cancer and metastasis formation in particular.