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CELL GENESYS LICENSES CELL ADHESION MOLECULE FROM DANA-FARBER

 CELL GENESYS LICENSES CELL ADHESION MOLECULE FROM DANA-FARBER
 FOSTER CITY, Calif., June 25 /PRNewswire/ -- Cell Genesys Inc. announced today that it has licensed exclusive, worldwide rights to a cell adhesion molecule believed to be a key target for the development of drugs to treat inflammation and cancer. The license was granted by the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, a teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School. Terms of the license were not disclosed.
 The cell adhesion molecule covered by the license is LAM-1 (also known as L-Selectin), which will be used by Cell Genesys to develop therapeutic human monoclonal antibodies. Cell adhesion molecules play a key role in inflammation by directing and activating white blood cells at disease sites. Antibodies that block cell adhesion molecules have therapeutic potential for various inflammatory and autoimmune disorders, such as rheumatoid arthritis, as well as for transplant rejection and cancer. The company also may pursue, most likely through a sub- licensee, conventional pharmaceutical products based on LAM-1.
 Cell Genesys is developing human monoclonal antibodies for the treatment of important human diseases through the use of its gene targeting technology. Gene targeting is an advanced genetic engineering technology which can precisely activate or inactivate specific genes in living cells.
 "Cell Genesys' rapid progress in the development of human monoclonal antibody technology has encouraged us to implement commercial relationships necessary to realize the product potential of gene targeting in this area," said Stephen A. Sherwin, M.D., president and chief executive officer of Cell Genesys.
 "This license from Dana-Farber for a cell adhesion molecule is the first of several steps we will take to establish proprietary positions for specific disease targets for our human monoclonal antibody product development program."
 Cell Genesys is using gene targeting to develop a new strain of mice in which the mouse genes responsible for generating antibodies are in effect replaced with antibody genes of human origin. The company believes that such mice will produce fully human antibodies which would not cause allergic responses in patients, as do antibodies which contain mouse protein. Moreover, the mice being developed by Cell Genesys should be able to produce human antibodies against human antigens such as LAM-1 and other cell adhesion molecules. Cell Genesys researchers to date have successfully used gene targeting to develop certain reagents and mouse strains necessary for the creation of human antibody producing mice.
 Thomas Tedder, Ph.D., whose laboratory at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute identified and characterized LAM-1, will become a scientific advisor to Cell Genesys in the field of cell adhesion molecules. Under the terms of the license, Cell Genesys will have rights to patent applications filed by Dr. Tedder over the past several years and to the derivative technology developed in his laboratory.
 Cell Genesys is developing its human monoclonal antibody technology under a joint venture with JT Immunotech USA, which was established in 1991. Through the equally owned joint venture, Cell Genesys will receive up to $30 million in funding to develop its technology in the antibody area.
 Cell Genesys Inc. is a privately held biotechnology company which is a pioneer in the application of gene targeting technology to the development of human therapeutic health care products. In addition to developing human monoclonal antibody products, the company is using gene targeting and related technologies to develop universal cell transplant products and human therapeutic protein products.
 -0- 6/25/92
 /CONTACT: Stephen A. Sherwin, M.D., of Cell Genesys, 415-358-9600, ext. 212/ CO: Cell Genesys ST: California IN: MTC SU:


RM -- SF005 -- 7974 06/25/92 13:00 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jun 25, 1992
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