atugen AG Signs Technology Evaluation Agreement with Arena Pharmaceuticals

BERLIN, Germany, Sept. 10, 2001 (PRIMEZONE) -- atugen AG (GER:ATUG), a Berlin-based functional genomics company, and one of the leaders in the field of therapeutic gene discovery and validation, announced today the signing of an agreement with Arena Pharmaceuticals, Inc. to evaluate the application of atugen's technology in Arena's research and development efforts in the area of G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs).

Under the terms of the agreement, atugen AG's wholly owned subsidiary, atugen USA, Inc., will receive from Arena a set number of central nervous system (CNS) gene targets to be evaluated in specific cell lines. atugen will optimize its GeneBloc(r) and cellular delivery technologies to 'knock-down' the expression of these targets. Arena will then use the GeneBloc molecules to evaluate gene function in CNS in vivo models. Financial terms were not disclosed.

"Arena's interest in using our GeneBloc molecules to investigate CNS systems in vivo is a validation of the flexibility and transferability of our technology," stated David Traylor, atugen USA's Senior Director, Business Development. "To date, in vivo target validation using knockout animals has run into problems due to disruption of embryonic development. Because GeneBlocs can be utilized at a later stage of development, this problem is circumvented, and we can see a more accurate reflection of potential drug activity."

"We are well aware of the contribution antisense oligonucleotide approaches have made to the validation of peripheral drug targets," commented Dr Martin Gore, Senior Scientist, Neuroscience at Arena. "Arena is interested in assessing antisense technologies as a method for the in vivo validation of CNS targets. We hope that this Technology Validation Study will uncover the general utility of antisense oligonucleotide technologies, particularly atugen's proprietary GeneBloc technology, for CNS target validation."

atugen's proprietary GeneBloc technology offers a powerful and rapid approach to define gene function based on the delivery of specially designed oligonucleotides that reduce expression of specific genes in designated cells. atugen's GeneBlocs together with their delivery vehicles allow a very selective, low toxicity approach to knock-down gene expression over many days in a variety of cell types. Furthermore, atugen's technology overcomes the problems associated with in vivo target validation using 'target knockouts', which result in the total inhibition of gene function from embryo to adult. Target knockouts run the risk of creating false positives, in some cases indicated by death, because of unnatural disruption of embryonic development. atugen's technology can be utilized after the genes have already fulfilled their developmental role in utero, as well as throughout development.

To view the full Press Release, please click on the link

If you have any problems please contact Noonan Russo Ltd on +44 207 726 4452.


Contact Data