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ONCOGENE SCIENCE, COLD SPRING HARBOR LABORATORY AND THE MEDICAL RESEARCH COUNCIL ANNOUNCE COLLABORATION TO SEEK NEW MUSCULAR DYSTROPHY THERAPY

 UNIONDALE, N.Y., Jan. 13 /PRNewswire/ -- Oncogene Science, Inc. (NASDAQ-NMS: ONCS), Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory and the Medical Research Council announced today a collaborative agreement to develop compounds to treat Duchenne muscular dystrophy using Oncogene Science's proprietary gene transcription technology and Cold Spring Harbor's expertise in basic genetic research.
 Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is a debilitating, progressive and ultimately fatal genetic disorder characterized by a lack of the protein dystrophin.
 The program will focus on the development of compounds to increase the levels of utrophin, a protein found at the membrane of fetal muscle cells. The approach builds on the pioneering work of Dr. Kay E. Davies, a professor of Genetics and Director of the Medical Research Council Clinical Sciences Centre at Hammersmith Hospital in London, whose research suggests that "upregulating" utrophin would functionally replace the defective dystrophin gene.
 Production of utrophin in the human muscle membrane normally stops at about 23 weeks gestation, when it is replaced by dystrophin. In the absence of dystrophin, however, utrophin continues to be produced. The collaborative research program will seek ways to increase utrophin production in dystrophic patients. Scientists hope utrophin can substitute for dystrophin to provide normal muscle function.
 Although in recent years some progress has been made with several experimental approaches to the treatment of muscular dystrophy, including steroids, myoblast transfer and gene therapy, major problems remain. The research team believes that utrophin therapy could be effective in all muscle cells and would circumvent the difficulties inherent in other approaches.
 Commenting on the collaboration, Dr. Davies stated, "Gene therapy for Duchenne muscular dystrophy is a real challenge because the missing protein is so large and muscle is such a large component of the body. However, the treatment of the disease by upregulating a compensating protein such as utrophin is an exciting approach because it avoids these problems."
 "DMD is a target of particular interest to us because of the genetic basis of the disease," said Gary E. Frashier, president and chief executive officer of Oncogene Science. "We believe that our proprietary gene transcription technology could be particularly useful in developing drugs which can address the unmet need for an effective therapy."
 A Program Advisory Committee has been assembled to oversee all phases of research and development. Members of the Program Advisory Committee include Drs. James Watson, Jan Witkowski and David Helfman of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, Dr. Gordon Foulkes of Oncogene Science will serve as the project director, and Drs. John Sorvillo and Adriana Heguy of Oncogene Science and Dr. Kay Davies will also assist in overseeing the project.
 Initial funding is being provided by grants from private individuals and by Oncogene Science and Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. As the program accelerates, future funding will be sought from medical foundations and private individuals.
 DMD is most often the result of an inherited defective dystrophin gene, but may also be the result of a spontaneous mutation. The disease is characterized by weakness of trunk muscles and limbs, with symptoms usually appearing before age five. Over time, muscle functions diminish to the point where a child is wheelchair-bound. Death usually occurs in the late teens and early twenties from heart failure or respiratory infections. The incidence of DMD is 1 in 3,500 male births with about 60,000 cases in the United States and Europe. Currently, approximately $250 million a year is spent on treatment.
 Oncogene Science, Inc. is a biopharmaceutical company utilizing proprietary gene transcription technology to develop products for the treatment of cancer and other human diseases which are associated with abnormalities of cell growth and control.
 Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, located in Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y., is a non-profit research and educational institution. Founded in 1890, the Laboratory is a world leader in cancer and molecular biology research.
 The Medical Research Council is the main U.K. government agency supporting medical research in its own establishments and, through its grant systems, researchers at universities and hospitals.
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 /CONTACT: Matthew D. Haines, director corporate communications of Oncogene Science, 516-222-0023; or Nathaniel Comfort, science writer of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, 516-367-8455/
 (ONCS)


CO: Oncogene Science, Inc.; Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory; Medical
 Research Council ST: New York IN: MTC SU:


PS -- NY024 -- 1721 01/13/94 09:41 EST
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Date:Jan 13, 1994
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