“NEW HAVEN, Conn., March 11 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — Genaissance Pharmaceuticals, Inc. , a leading developer and user of genetic information to help guide medical therapy, has received a notice of allowance from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The allowed patent, which is co-owned with Duke University, claims testing for a common genetic variant in the CYP3A4 gene to predict poor metabolism of certain drugs. It is estimated at least 50 percent of all drugs, including chemotherapeutic agents and a wide variety of over-the-counter medications, are metabolized by the CYP3A4 enzyme. Individuals with a reduced ability to metabolize these drugs may be exposed to higher levels of the drug, placing them at risk for adverse drug reactions.
The allowed patent, “Methods for Evaluating the Ability to Metabolize Pharmaceuticals,” describes the selection of chemotherapeutic agents based on the presence or absence of this variant, which is commonly called CYP3A4*1B. The patent also describes how a mutation in the GSTM1 gene affects drug metabolism.
In addition to the pharmacogenetic uses described above, the CYP3A4*1B variant may also be useful in identifying individuals at risk for prostate and breast cancer. An earlier related patent (U.S. 6,432,639: Isolated CYP3A4 Nucleic Acid Molecules and Detection Methods, which is solely owned by Genaissance) describes the discovery of the CYP3A4*1B variant and its detection.
“This is a significant addition to our intellectual property estate covering key drug-response markers because such a large number of important drugs are metabolized by CYP3A4,” notes Kevin Rakin, President and Chief Executive Officer of Genaissance.