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Silence Therapeutics Announces Issuance of Japanese Patent for Screening Therapeutics Against Key Pathway Associated with Cancer and Other Diseases

LONDON, September 16, 2011 /PRNewswire/ --

Silence Therapeutics plc (AIM: SLN) ("Silence" or the "Company"), a leading RNA interference (RNAi) therapeutics company, announces the issuance of patent 4810095 entitled "Use of Protein Kinase N beta" by the Japanese Patent Office. The issued patent covers certain methods for screening a therapeutic agent for the treatment and/or prevention of any disease that involves elevated activity within the PI3-kinase pathway. 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. This new patent is broadly directed to various classes of therapeutic agents with the potential to impact the PI3-kinase pathway including short interfering RNA (siRNA) molecules, antibodies and small molecules, among others.  

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. Silence has built a significant research program around PKN3 and the company's lead clinical compound, Atu027, is an RNAi therapeutic that targets PKN3 for the treatment of advanced solid tumors.  

"We are excited about consolidating our broad patent portfolio in Japan, especially as it pertains to our high-value PKN3 program," said Dr Klaus Giese, chief scientific officer of Silence Therapeutics. "This patent positions Silence as the exclusive gatekeeper for any project focused on developing therapeutics targeting PKN3, and as interest in this important oncology target continues to grow rapidly, we expect the value of this intellectual property position will also increase significantly."

Silence Therapeutics is proactively building and strengthening its global, diverse and competitive intellectual property portfolio. This provides the Company and potential partners with a strong proprietary position in the RNAi therapeutics space. The Company expects to make significant further progress in reinforcing its patent portfolio during 2011. At present, Silence's global patent portfolio contains issued patents and pending applications covering strategic areas of RNAi therapeutic development. These include multiple proprietary siRNA delivery technologies, potent siRNA sequences specific for high-value disease targets and chemical modifications.

Notes for editors

About Silence Therapeutics plc (

Silence Therapeutics plc (AIM: SLN) is a leading biotechnology company dedicated to the discovery, development and delivery of targeted, systemic RNA interference (RNAi) therapeutics for the treatment of serious diseases. Silence offers one of the most comprehensive short interfering RNA (siRNA) therapeutic platforms available today based on a strong intellectual property portfolio and large clinical safety database. Silence's clinical siRNA product pipeline is one of the broadest in the industry. The Company possesses multiple proprietary siRNA delivery technology platforms including AtuPLEX™ and DACC. AtuPLEX enables the broad functional delivery of siRNA molecules to targeted diseased tissues and cells, while increasing their bioavailability and intracellular uptake. The DACC delivery system allows functional delivery of siRNA molecules selectively to the lung endothelium with a long duration of target mRNA and protein knock-down. Additionally, the Company has a platform of novel siRNA molecules based around its AtuRNAi chemical modification technology, which provides a number of advantages over conventional siRNA molecules. Silence's unique RNAi assets also include structural features for RNAi molecules and specific design rules for increased potency and reduced off-target effects of siRNA sequences.

The Company's lead internal drug candidate is Atu027, a liposomal formulation in clinical development for systemic cancer indications and one of the most clinically advanced RNAi therapeutic candidates in the area of oncology. Atu027 incorporates two of the Company's technologies, AtuRNAi and AtuPLEX. Silence is currently conducting an open-label, single-centre, dose-escalation Phase I study with Atu027 in patients with advanced solid tumors involving single, as well as repeated, intravenous administration. Encouraging interim data were presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology Annual Meeting in June 2011. The results of this study are expected in the first half of 2012.

The Company's RNAi therapeutic platform has received key validation through multiple partnerships with pharmaceutical companies including AstraZeneca, Dainippon Sumitomo, Pfizer/Quark, and Novartis/Quark. Silence is actively pursuing the establishment of additional partnerships. Silence Therapeutics has operations in both Berlin and London.

Forward-Looking Statements

This press release includes forward-looking statements that are subject to risks, uncertainties and other factors. These risks and uncertainties could cause actual results to differ materially from those referred to in the forward-looking statements. All forward-looking statements are based on information currently available to Silence Therapeutics and Silence Therapeutics assumes no obligation to update any such forward-looking statements.

For further information, please contact:

Silence Therapeutics Singer Capital Markets Max Herrmann/Thomas Christely Shaun Dobson/Claes Spång +44(0)20-7491-6520/ +49-30-9489-2800 +44(0)20-32057500 Vida Communication (US) M:Communications (Europe) Tim Brons (media)/Stephanie Diaz Peter Laing / Emma Thompson (investors) +44(0)20-7920-2345 / +1(415)675-7400 +44(0)20-7920-2342

SOURCE Silence Therapeutics Plc
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