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OPKO Health Announces Issuance of U.S. Patent Covering the Use and Administration of Certain Anti-VEGF siRNA's, Including Its Phase III Compound Bevasiranib
Date:3/18/2008

-Second Issued Patent for Bevasiranib Broadly Covers siRNA Targeting of VEGF Expression, Further Strengthening OPKO's RNAi Intellectual Property

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MIAMI, March 18 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- OPKO Health, Inc. (Amex: OPK) today announced that it has been issued a key patent by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) for methods related to the use and administration of small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) for targeting vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), including OPKO's siRNA drug candidate, bevasiranib, which is currently in a Phase III trial for the treatment of wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

The claims of the newly issued patent cover a broad range of methods for the use of a specific sequence of siRNA, including bevasiranib, to target VEGF. The patent also covers application of this specific sequence of siRNA to inhibit the expression of VEGF and to treat VEGF-related angiogenic disorders including age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy and cancer. In addition, the claims cover any methods of administering the siRNA, including intravenous administration, retinal injections and oral administration. This newly issued patent broadly protecting the applications of OPKO's siRNA bevasiranib is the second for the compound. In late 2006, the USPTO issued a patent covering bevasiranib's composition of matter.

"This patent marks another important step in establishing OPKO's leadership position in the promising field of siRNA-based therapeutics," said Samuel Reich, Executive Vice President of OPKO Ophthalmics. "Bevasiranib was the first siRNA to enter human trials, the first siRNA to demonstrate clinically relevant activity in patients, the
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SOURCE OPKO Health, Inc.
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