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Atugen and AstraZeneca to Do Gene Target Validation.

BERLIN--(BW HealthWire)--Aug. 25, 1999--

Atugen Biotechnology GmbH Wednesday announced that it has signed a research collaboration with AstraZeneca, Charnwood, U.K., to evaluate Atugen's target validation services through Atugen USA, a subsidiary of Atugen Biotechnology GmbH. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Astra is to provide Atugen with gene targets and cell lines of interest for in vitro screening and delivery optimization, and Atugen will develop GeneBloc(TM) reagents to knock down the genes of interest. Atugen is to perform quantitative RNA analysis and technology transfer to enable Astra to utilize the best GeneBlocs, proprietary delivery vehicles and protocols for phenotypic analysis. Astra also has the option to receive validated GeneBlocs against their targets for in vivo validation.

"We are very satisfied with the rapid acceptance of Atugen's target discovery and validation technology by the global pharmaceutical industry. Atugen's high throughput technology helps our pharma partners to overcome a major bottleneck in drug discovery -- namely the identification of the right targets out of a large number of potential targets generated through genomics," said Dr. Michael Steinmetz, Atugen's Acting chief executive officer. Dr. Michael Steinmetz is Managing Director at MPM Asset Management, which manages the Bioventures family of funds, the Venture Capital investor in Atugen.

This announcement follows a recent announcement of Atugen's collaboration with Roche Biosciences to perform target validation services. This marks the second agreement completed since Atugen was incorporated after becoming an independent spin-off of Ribozyme Pharmaceuticals Inc. (RPI)(NASDAQ:RZYM).

At the incorporation of Atugen, Atugen/RPI had five corporate partners for its target discovery and validation programs including Schering AG (and its US Berlex subsidiary), Chiron Corp., Parke Davis (Warner Lambert), Glaxo Wellcome and Roche Biosciences (formerly partnered for Target Discovery only). Atugen USA has assumed responsibility for providing research services for these collaborations.

Atugen Biotechnology, GmbH is an integrated genomics company, with headquarters in Berlin. Atugen's mission is to provide its pharmaceutical and biotechnology partners with cost-effective, high throughput target analysis, plus in vitro and in vivo target discovery and validation to accelerate the drug development process.

This release may contain forward-looking statements that reflect management's current views of future events and operations. The information is based on management's current expectations but actual results may differ materially due to various factors, including those mentioned in this release, risks and uncertainties, including market conditions, competitive pricing, the successful outcome of clinical trials, the timely receipt of regulatory approvals and those outlined in RPI filings with the SEC.
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Publication:Business Wire
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Aug 26, 1999
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