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EUROPEAN PATENT OFFICE GRANTS MOLECULAR BIOSYSTEMS BROAD ANTISENSE PATENT

 EUROPEAN PATENT OFFICE GRANTS MOLECULAR BIOSYSTEMS
 BROAD ANTISENSE PATENT
 SAN DIEGO, April 29 /PRNewswire/ -- Molecular Biosystems Inc. (NYSE: MB) (MBI) announced today that the European Patent Office has granted the company a broad pioneering patent for "antisense" technology entitled "Oligonucleotide Therapeutic Agents and Methods of Making Same" (Patent No. 0092574). A U.S. patent was granted on Sept. 12, 1991, covering a more specific class of modified oligonucleotides as antisense therapeutic agents.
 Having a priority date based on a U.S. application filed in 1981, this patent gives MBI a significant proprietary position in antisense therapeutics in Europe. Based on the allowed claims, any antisense oligonucleotide of 14 to 23 bases which is stabilized to prevent chemical or nuclease degradation and which targets messenger RNA (mRNA) would be covered by the patent. Antisense compounds of this type are currently being developed by a number of biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies.
 The use of synthetic genetic molecules to treat or prevent disease has been termed "antisense" because the therapeutic effect is achieved by blocking the "sense" function of the genetic material, for example, DNA or RNA. Antisense compounds have been designed to inhibit the translation of DNA or RNA into proteins that perform functions within a living cell. The process of translating DNA into proteins is mediated by mRNA. Stabilized oligonucleotide compounds that interfere with this critical process are protected under the allowed claims of this patent and could be used to treat or even reverse some diseases.
 "The antisense patents, which we first filed in 1981, establish a clear precedent for our participation in this exciting new area of pharmaceutical research," stated Kenneth J. Widder, M.D., chairman and chief executive officer of MBI and Syngene. "Our place in the antisense field is based on a broad patent that was filed very early. As such, we will enforce and defend this position vigorously," he further stated.
 The potential market for antisense therapeutics is substantial, as antisense products may eventually replace many conventional antiviral and antibacterial drugs. In recent years, there has been a great deal of interest in antisense research with several companies established to explore these opportunities.
 Molecular Biosystems Inc., based in San Diego, is a leader in the development and manufacturing of contrast agents for medical imaging, including ultrasound and magnetic resonance imaging. Syngene Inc., MBI's wholly owned subsidiary, is a leader in the development of genetic probe technology. MBI's shares are listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol "MB."
 -0- 4/29/92
 /CONTACT: Beth Field Wallace of Molecular Biosystems, 619-452-0681/
 (MB) CO: Molecular Biosystems Inc.; Syngene Inc. ST: California IN: MTC SU:


KJ-JL -- SD001 -- 4169 04/29/92 08:30 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Apr 29, 1992
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