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Cell Preservation Technology Improves Diagnostics, Enhances Bioproduction Of Drugs and Generates Healthier Crops; - Extensive Applications of Cell Preservation Technology Are Highlighted At 'Apoptosis: Commercial Opportunities' Conference in San Diego, April 28 - May 1, 2002 -.

SAN DIEGO -- Researchers reported on a broad range of important commercial applications of technology that keeps cells alive at the "Apoptosis: Commercial Opportunities" conference, held in San Diego April 28 through May 1 and hosted by Idun Pharmaceuticals. Data presented by researchers from ChromaVision Medical Systems, Lonza Biologics, Genentech, and the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, showed cell preservation technology improves diagnostics, enhances bioproduction and generates healthier crops.

Dr. Ken Bauer, Chief Medical Officer at ChromaVision Medical Systems (CMS), showed that the accuracy of detecting cytomegalovirus in human blood samples was significantly improved by the addition of a caspase inhibitor to the blood sample. The caspase inhibitor restrained the death of white blood cells that carry the virus and provided a 45% improvement in viral detection. CMS is also using caspase inhibitors to stabilize blood sample in order to increase the sensitivity and accuracy of detecting circulating carcinoma cells, a prognostic test that could dramatically improve the outcome of cancer patients.

Dr. Angelo Perani, Senior Research Scientist at Lonza Biologics, and Dr. Jana van de Goor, a Scientist at Genentech both demonstrated the economic value of keeping cell cultures alive longer in the biological production of drugs. Dr. Perani showed that the introduction of the anti-cell death gene Bcl-2 improved the viability of cultures and increased the amount of drug produced by 20 to 25% in a manufacturing run, thereby decreasing the cost of manufacturing. Similarly, Dr. van de Goor improved bioproduction efficiency by suppressing cell death of the production culture by utilizing cells with a dominate-negative mutant of the caspase 9 gene and the addition of small molecule caspase inhibitors to the culture media. She reported a 100% increase in the bioreactor production run with cells containing the mutant caspase 9 gene. These approaches by Dr. Perani and Dr. van de Goor can both be exploited to improve culture productivity and product yields in many bioproduction processes.

Dr. Marty Dickman, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, provided graphic pictorial examples of the positive economic impact that plants, modified to contain anti-cell death genes, can have. He presented numerous illustrations of commercially important modified plants that can stave off relevant viral and fungal diseases. In addition, these plants also have the ability to tolerate adverse environmental conditions such as drought, heat, cold and salt. Dr. Dickman has worked on plants such as tobacco, wheat, rice, corn, soybean and oats. Dr. Dickman's research has broad implications for a new generation of transgenic plants that could positively impact worldwide food production.

"Most of the emphasis on staving off cell death is focused on human therapeutics," said Steve Mento, Ph.D., Idun's President and CEO. "But as several of the presentations at this meeting have shown, there are many additional product opportunities being developed using the same technology. These opportunities are real, the potential markets are large, and the time to product revenue is much shorter. I am happy to see these product areas get positive feedback from the conference participants. Maybe this will spur the development of yet more innovative solutions to commercially important problems."

Idun Pharmaceuticals, Inc. is a biopharmaceutical company located in San Diego, CA. It creates innovative human therapeutics with a primary focus on controlling apoptosis, or programmed cell death. Idun believes that controlling the cell death process will have utility in treating cancer, neurodegenerative diseases, ischemic disorders and cardiovascular disease. The company has a commercialization strategy encompassing: strategic collaborations with major pharmaceutical companies; internal, independent development of selected small molecule therapeutics; and out-licensing of diagnostics, gene therapies, and bioproduction technologies. Idun has a broad patent portfolio covering the fundamental and core technologies involved in the regulation of cell death and has established partnerships with Abbott Laboratories in cancer, with Elan Corporation, plc in stroke, and Becton Dickinson and Company in research reagents. For more information, please visit .

Some of the statements in this press release are forward-looking statements and do not guarantee future performance and involve risks and uncertainties. Actual results may differ substantially from the results that the forward-looking statements suggest for various reasons. These forward- looking statements are made only as of the date of this press release.


Contact: Steven J. Mento, Ph.D., President and CEO of Idun Pharmaceuticals, +1-858-623-1330; or Kathy Witz Sweeney of Mentus, +1-858-455-5500 ext. 140,, for Idun Pharmaceuticals

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Comment:Cell Preservation Technology Improves Diagnostics, Enhances Bioproduction Of Drugs and Generates Healthier Crops; - Extensive Applications of Cell Preservation Technology Are Highlighted At 'Apoptosis: Commercial Opportunities' Conference in San Diego, April 28 - May 1, 2002 -.
Publication:PR Newswire
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:May 6, 2002
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