atugen AG Signs Evaluation Agreement with Byk Gulden (with link)

BERLIN, Germany, Nov. 19, 2001 (PRIMEZONE) -- atugen AG announced today that it has signed an evaluation agreement with the pharmaceuticals group of ALTANA, Byk Gulden (Constance), to investigate the efficiency and specificity of atugen's technology for the validation of novel cancer targets.

Under the terms of the agreement, atugen will receive from Byk Gulden a set number of genetic targets associated with cancer to be validated in specific cell lines. atugen will develop and select GeneBlocs together with its highly efficient, low-toxic, cell delivery technologies that provide the best 'knock-down' of target gene expression, thus inhibiting protein production, and hence validating biological function. Financial terms were not disclosed.

The direct correlation between reduction in target gene expression and effects on cellular function, in both in vitro and in vivo cancer models, rapidly provides the validation required to move the target into drug screening and development. atugen's proprietary delivery reagents, unlike commercial available lipids, transport the GeneBlocs into the cells of interest, allowing for optimal inhibition of gene expression over many days with the least amount of unwanted side effects.

atugen AG is a German biotech company with its headquarters in Berlin, Germany and a subsidiary in Boulder, Colorado, USA. Using its GeneBloc(r) technology, atugen aims to discover and validate pharmaceutical targets faster than other technologies. atugen's mission is to provide its partners with cost-effective high throughput target analysis, as well as in vitro and in vivo validation. This will accelerate the development of novel drugs in its customers' laboratories and in its own independent research focused on finding cancer targets down stream from tumor suppressor genes. atugen provides target discovery and validation services to Arena Pharmaceuticals, Astra Zeneca, Axys Pharmaceuticals, Bayer, Roche BioScience, BASF, Boehringer Ingelheim, Millennium, Schering AG and its US affiliate, Berlex Pharmaceutical Corporation, and Serono.

ALTANA AG is an international pharmaceuticals and chemicals group with sales exceeding EUR 2 billion in 2001 and more than 9.000 employees all over the world. Its pharmaceuticals group Byk Gulden (Constance) concentrates on the areas Therapeutics, Diagnostics and self-medication and focuses on innovative pharmaceutical research (gastrointestinal, respiratory, oncology). Byk Gulden represents a group of 30 subsidiaries and participations in Europe, the Americas and Asia.

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