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Chiron granted hepatitis C patent.

Chiron Corporation (Emeryville, CA; 510-655-8730) announced that it has been granted United States Patent 6,027,729. This patent is directed to hepatitis C polypeptides encoded throughout the genomes of hepatitis C viruses. The polypeptides can be from the core, envelope, or non-structural regions of any strain of hepatitis C virus. Immunologically reactive hepatitis C virus polypeptides, including large recombinant proteins and shorter synthetic peptides, are used in immunoassays for both screening blood donations and in clinical diagnosis of hepatitis C virus infection. Such polypeptides are also being used in the development of vaccines to stimulate protective immune responses, and as targets in the development of new anti-hepatitis C virus therapeutics. These polypeptides are also used to screen and produce anti-hepatitis C virus antibody preparations.

"This patent is based on a fundamental breakthrough in infectious disease research which Chiron scientists achieved when they cloned and correctly identified the hepatitis C virus," commented Robert Blackburn, vice president and chief patent counsel at Chiron. "Never before had an unknown infectious agent been identified through molecular cloning techniques alone without prior characterization. This invention has resulted in saving millions of people from a potentially debilitating and sometimes fatal disease. Likewise it has enabled healthcare systems worldwide to save millions of dollars in detection and treatment costs."

Hepatitis C, previously called non-A, non-B hepatitis, has been known since the mid 1970s and became recognized as a major health threat to patients receiving blood transfusions. In response to this crisis, major laboratories around the world searched without success for the disease-causing agent. In 1987, Chiron scientists Michael Houghton, PhD; Qui-Lim Choo, PhD; and George Kuo, PhD, cloned and first identified hepatitis C virus as the cause of transfusion-related non-A, non-B hepatitis. This discovery marked the first time a virus was cloned before it had been grown in tissue culture or otherwise isolated. Based on its research, Chiron has been granted in excess of 100 hepatitis C virus-related patents in over 20 countries.

Chiron is a leading biotechnology company that participates in three global healthcare markets: biopharmaceuticals, vaccines, and blood testing. The company is applying a broad and integrated scientific approach to the development of innovative products for preventing and treating cancer, infectious diseases, and cardiovascular disease.
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Publication:BIOTECH Patent News
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 1, 2000
Previous Article:Millennium gains broad access to human antibody technology through collaboration with Abgenix.
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