Our intellectual property is focused on the discoveries that link variations in key inflammation and metabolic genes to various conditions or illnesses. We initially concentrated our efforts on variations in the genes for the interleukin family of cytokines, because these compounds appear to be some of the strongest control points for the development and severity of inflammation. Our patents also cover genetic variations that are involved in fat storage and metabolism.
We have patents and pending applications directed to single SNPs and SNP patterns in gene clusters as they relate to use for identifying individuals on a rapid path to several medical conditions or for use in guiding the selection of diets, exercise, vitamin needs, preventive care and also therapeutic agents. Groups of SNPs are often inherited together as patterns called haplotypes. We have U.S. patents issued on haplotypes in the interleukin-1 gene cluster and their biological and clinical significance. We believe these patents are controlling relative to interleukin-1 SNPs and haplotype patterns that would be used for genetic risk assessment tests.
Our patents are “use” patents that claim that a SNP, or set of SNPs in unique patterns can be used in a novel way to predict disease development or progression, predict responses to preventive or therapeutic interventions and identify specific actions that improve health outcomes. We currently own rights in 11 issued U.S. patents, that have expiration dates between 2015 and 2027, and have 10 additional U.S. patent applications pending, that are based on novel associations between particular gene sequences and certain metabolic and inflammatory conditions and disorders. The 11 issued U.S. patents relate to genetic tests for obesity, periodontal disease, osteoporosis, coronary artery disease, and other diseases associated with interleukin inflammatory haplotypes. Our newest patent applications relate to the commercial use of SNP panels in the fields of weight management, periodontal disease, osteoporosis and osteoarthritis. If granted, we expect many of these patents are not likely to expire until between 2027 and 2031.
Our intellectual property and proprietary technology are subject to numerous risks, which we discuss in “Risk Factors” in our annual SEC filings. Our commercial success will depend at least in part on our ability to obtain appropriate patent protection on our therapeutic and diagnostic products and methods and our ability to avoid infringing on the intellectual property of others.
We have been granted a number of corresponding foreign patents and have a number of foreign counterparts of our U.S. patents and patent applications pending.