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PROTEIN ENGINEERING CORP. ANNOUNCES U.S. PATENT AWARDED ON METHODS TO GENERATE TARGETED DNA-BINDING PROTEINS

 PROTEIN ENGINEERING CORP. ANNOUNCES U.S. PATENT AWARDED
 ON METHODS TO GENERATE TARGETED DNA-BINDING PROTEINS
 CAMBRIDGE, Mass., June 3 /PRNewswire/ -- Protein Engineering Corporation (PEC) announced today that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has issued a fundamental patent (No. 5,096,815) covering methods to generate and select novel proteins having DNA-binding activity. PEC is using this technology initially to engineer novel proteins to preferentially block the ability of viruses to propagate, which may lead to the discovery of new treatments for viral diseases. The technology may also be used to block the activity of harmful genes, including cancer-causing oncogenes. The patent is the first issued to PEC.
 The PEC patent is titled "Generation and Selection of Novel DNA- binding Proteins and Polypeptides." The process involves using genetic engineering techniques to create libraries of millions of cells containing different DNA sequences that encode potential DNA-binding proteins. These cells are screened by triggering expression of a gene that will be lethal to the cell if the gene is not repressed by a DNA- binding protein. The cells that survive screening contain DNA-binding proteins that repress the target DNA sequence.
 "This broad patent for generating proteins that target specific DNA sequences recognizes our innovative drug discovery technology and establishes for PEC a strong proprietary position in this rapidly evolving field of biomedical research," commented John H. Freeman, president of Protein Engineering Corporation. "Our focus is to develop protein-based therapies. This patented technology expands our core technologies, which also include related methods we have devised to engineer proteins that are designed to bind with greatly enhanced affinity for proteins, carbohydrates, and other classes of targets."
 Freeman continued, "Our strategy for advancing the discovery and development of DNA-binding proteins as potential treatments for viral infections is through alliances with major pharmaceutical companies."
 With PEC's process, DNA sequences that can be used as therapeutic targets typically are 15- to 30-base pairs, approximately the length of the viral sequences that regulate viral gene expression. Since any particular 30-base pair viral sequence is highly unlikely to be found in the human genome, it is possible to selectively repress only the viral genes of infected cells.
 PEC's technology offers the opportunity to overcome the challenges associated with developing DNA-binding drugs including making molecules that bind tightly and specifically to the target DNA sequence, effectively delivering these molecules to the desired target and assuring long-term safety of treatment.
 The inventors named on the patent are Robert C. Ladner, Ph.D., Sonia K. Guterman, Ph.D., Rachel B. Kent, Ph.D., and Arthur C. Ley, Ph.D. Dr. Ladner, PEC's co-founder and scientific director, has pioneered the fields of single-chain antibodies and phage display methods for engineering novel proteins.
 Protein Engineering Corporation was founded in 1987 to develop powerful proprietary technology to engineer patentable novel proteins for use as pharmaceuticals. Company headquarters are located in Cambridge, Mass.
 -0- 6/3/92
 /CONTACT: John H. Freeman, of Protein Engineering, 617-868-0868, or Lynne H. Brum, of Feinstein Partners Inc., 617-577-8110, for PEC/ CO: Protein Engineering Corporation ST: Massachusetts IN: MTC SU:


CN -- NE001 -- 6484 06/03/92 08:30 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jun 3, 1992
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