RNA Therapeutics

Small molecule drugs target biological structures and have been useful tools for treating diseases for the last century.

However, modern medicine is at the beginning of a new revolution. RNA-based therapeutics utilizing polynucleotides provide an easily programmable platform for the development of novel drugs able to target biological structures previously inaccessible by small molecules. 

RNA is carrier of genetic information encoded in a specific base sequence and folds into diverse structures. This allows not only to encode proteins but also to generate a plurality of RNA-based molecules with desired structures and properties such as aptamers or siRNAs. These features enable RNA therapeutics not only to deliver the blueprints for proteins in the form of mRNAs to target cells of a patient but also represent a powerful tool to modulate the expression of endogenous genes, modify the activity of proteins within target cells, or even mimic an infectious disease without the harm caused by the actual pathogen, a strategy now wildly exploited in vaccine technology.

RNA-based therapeutics have many advantages over recent approaches such as gene therapies aiming to correct the underlying genetic causes of a disease by altering the genome of patient cells. The use of RNA, rather than DNA, allows for transient and titratable treatments of patients since RNA molecules cannot integrate into target cells and degrade over time.

Recent success stories of mRNA-based vaccines against COVID19 have demonstrated the immense potential of RNA-based therapeutics for public health. However, RNA therapeutics now come in diverse shapes and forms and utilize different biological principles.

The development of RNA interference (RNAi)-based drugs, for instance, can offer further strategies to titrate the expression of pathological levels of endogenous RNA molecules by targeting complementary RNA sequences in patients and allows the reversable removal of proteins from patient cells that cause harm. 

While multiple applications and designs of RNAs are commercially explored, certain characteristics such as chemical structures and modifications overlap. Consequently, IP incepted for a particular application of an RNA might have multiple uses within the wide range of RNA technology. Therefore, we utilize our deep understanding of RNA technology and the rapidly developing patent landscape to explore strategies with our clients able to maximize patent protection often beyond the initial idea of the invention.

The challenging delivery of RNA-based drugs has historically hampered wide application in therapy. RNAs can be chemically fragile and require specialized encapsulation to ensure save journey to target cells or tissues. Our expertise in drug delivery technology in combination with our deep understanding of the specific requirements of RNA therapeutics allows us to find ideal strategies for our clients to ensure broad protection of technology. 

While we are only at the beginning of the development of RNA therapeutics, we expect that this innovative field will make tremendous progress in the coming years resulting in the development and approval of drugs inconceivable with conventional drug-development approaches.

However, regulatory strategies by lawmakers must adapt to the new reality of these inventive drugs to unlock the full potential of the technology. Further development of patent legislation is expected to shape the scope of protection achievable in the future.

Our interdisciplinary team is closely following recent developments in Europe and beyond to offer the best possible analysis and advice for protection of your inventions.


If you have any questions or suggestions do not hesitate to contact us.