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ALTUS LAUNCHES CHIROCLEC-EC AND PEPTICLEC-BL CATALYSTS

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., June 24 /PRNewswire/ -- Altus Biologics Inc. announced today the commercial launch of ChiroCLEC(TM)-EC, a powerful CLEC(R) (cross-linked enzyme crystal) catalyst for use by medicinal and process chemists to resolve alcohols, amines, and both natural and unnatural acids. The catalyst also enables process chemists to perform protection and deprotection of functional groups in target molecules under extremely mild conditions. Altus introduced ChiroCLEC-EC at the ChemSpec-Europe '96 conference held last week in Basel, Switzerland.

Altus also announced that in March, the Company launched PeptiCLEC(TM)-BL, a novel CLEC(R) catalyst for performing peptide chemistry, at the American Chemical Society Conference held in New Orleans. PeptiCLEC(TM)-BL enables the process chemist to efficiently synthesize peptides and peptidomimetics based on coupling natural and unnatural amino acids and oligopeptides. This versatile catalyst is designed for use by medicinal and process chemists, and represents an important new tool for the research and development of peptidomimetics. PeptiCLEC-BL's excellent enantioselectivity in coupling both natural and unnatural amino acids and racemic amines, makes the catalyst extremely useful for the synthesis of optically pure pharmaceuticals.

"With the introduction of ChiroCLEC-EC and PeptiCLEC-BL, Altus has significantly extended the range of chiral and peptide chemistry that can be performed using our CLEC(R) technology," commented Peter Lanciano, President of Altus. "We are focused on developing a portfolio of CLEC catalysts that perform a full range of chemical reactions used in the manufacture of optically pure, high value-added products such as pharmaceuticals, specialty chemicals, flavors and fragrances."

Altus' CLEC products are natural, environmentally benign catalysts that allow chemists to conduct efficient and environmentally sound chemical reactions. CLEC catalysts are also durable, stable, and easily recoverable, which enables repeated use through many reaction cycles with minimal loss of catalytic activity. The unique properties of CLEC products make them potentially useful in a broad range of commercially important industrial processes and products.

In addition to ChiroCLEC(TM)-EC, Altus has developed a full line of catalysts for chiral resolutions. Altus is marketing ChiroCLEC(TM)-PC for the resolution of alcohols, acids and esters; ChiroCLEC(TM)-BL for the resolution of amino acids, peptides, chiral amines and amino acid analogs; and ChiroCLEC(TM)-CR, for the resolution of acids, alcohols and esters. Altus is also marketing ChiroKit(TM)-EH for the rapid determination of the optimal catalyst to perform chiral resolutions via ester hydrolysis and ChiroKit(TM)-TE for the rapid determination of the optimal catalyst to resolve alcohols and amines via acylation reactions. In addition to PepticCLEC(TM)-BL, Altus is developing a full line of catalyst products for peptide chemistry. The first of these products, PeptiCLEC(TM)-TR, was introduced in 1994.

Altus Biologics Inc., a subsidiary of Vertex Pharmaceuticals Incorporated (Nasdaq: VRTX), develops and markets proprietary protein stabilization technology. The Company's lead products, CLEC(R) brand catalysts, are crystallized, cross-linked enzymes that are versatile, durable and environmentally benign. Altus develops, manufactures and sells CLEC brand products for use in specialized chemical and pharmaceutical manufacturing, biomedical applications, and in consumer products.
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/CONTACT: Lynne H. Brum, Director of Corporate Communications of Altus, 617-577-6000, or Gretchen L.P. Schweitzer of Feinstein Partners Inc., 617-577-8110/

(VRTX)

CO: Vertex Pharmaceuticals, Incorporated; Altus Biologics Inc. ST: Massachusetts IN: MTC SU:

JL -- NEM010 -- 2056 06/24/96 10:21 EDT
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Date:Jun 24, 1996
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