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CELL GENESYS SCIENTISTS DEVELOP METHOD FOR INTRODUCING LARGE HUMAN GENES INTO MICE

 FOSTER CITY, Calif., March 18 /PRNewswire/ -- Cell Genesys Inc. (NASDAQ-NMS: CEGE) announced today that a team of its scientists has developed a novel methodology for introducing large human genes into mice. The results of these findings, which were published today in the journal Nature, represent a major advance in the development of human monoclonal antibody technology at Cell Genesys and may have an important impact on the human genome project.
 In the work described in Nature, Cell Genesys scientists successfully used artificial chromosomes derived from yeast to introduce an extremely large piece of human DNA into mouse embryo cells, which were then used to permanently introduce human genetic information into the breeding characteristics of a strain of mouse. This technique is being used by Cell Genesys to introduce an array of human antibody genes into mice in order to produce human monoclonal antibody products. In related work described in the March 15 issue of The Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, another team of Cell Genesys scientists successfully used gene targeting technology to eliminate the ability of certain mice to produce antibodies of mouse origin. Such technology is required to create a strain of mice that can produce only human antibodies and not mouse antibodies.
 "The work of our scientists described today in Nature represents a major step forward in establishing our technology to develop fully human monoclonal antibody products," said Stephen A. Sherwin, M.D., president and chief executive officer. "In addition, this novel gene introduction technology may greatly assist scientists working on the human genome project by giving them a new tool to study the structure and function of large, complex human genes in genetically modified mice."
 Cell Genesys believes that human antibody products may be less likely to produce an allergic response than most other monoclonal antibody products which consist entirely or partly of mouse protein. Human monoclonal antibodies may be useful in the treatment of chronic illnesses requiring long-term therapy, such as arthritis, autoimmune disease, cancer and transplant rejection. Cell Genesys' efforts to create a human monoclonal antibody producing mouse are supported by research and development funding obtained from the company's joint venture with JT Immunotech, a subsidiary of Japan Tobacco Inc. The joint venture was formed in June 1991 to develop and commercialize human antibody products and will provide Cell Genesys with up to approximately $24 million in funding through June 1995.
 Cell Genesys is a leader in the application of gene targeting technology to the development of human therapeutic healthcare products. Gene targeting is a new cellular genetic engineering technology which enables precise and permanent activation, inactivation and replacement of specific genes in living cells. The company is applying gene targeting and related technologies to develop products in three areas: universal cell transplant products, human therapeutic protein products and human monoclonal antibody products.
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 /CONTACT: Stephen A. Sherwin, president and chief executive officer of Cell Genesys, 415-358-9600, ext. 212; or Jack Murphy, 415-626-4848 (home), for Cell Genesys/
 (CEGE)


CO: Cell Genesys Inc. ST: California IN: MTC SU:

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Date:Mar 18, 1993
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