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Gemini Genomics' Partnered Osteoporosis Diagnostic Product Licensed by Specialty Laboratories.

Biotechnology/Health Editors

CAMBRIDGE, U.K.--(BW HealthWire)--June 27, 2001

Gemini Genomics plc (Nasdaq:GMNI), a world leader in clinical genomics, today announced that Specialty Laboratories, Inc. (NYSE: SP) has reached an agreement with Axis-Shield plc for exclusive U.S. rights to a new gene-based test for a predisposition to osteoporosis using Gemini's patent on the type 1 collagen (COL1A1) gene. Specialty Laboratories Inc. is validating the assay for commercial-scale offering and expects to make it available to physicians and their patients in the second half of 2001. Gemini will receive from Axis-Shield a milestone payment and royalties on sales of the test.

"The commercial launch of our first product by Specialty Laboratories, Inc. shows that Gemini is successfully capitalizing on the new age of genetic medicine by using genetics to develop products that will diagnose and predict the risk of preventable disease. Genomics is transforming modern medicine and Gemini is leading the way by utilizing our exciting discoveries in the laboratory to create new opportunities for diagnostic and therapeutic product development," stated Paul Kelly, M.D., Gemini's President and Chief Executive Officer. "This is the first genetic test of its kind that identifies a predisposition to severe osteoporosis, and this product has the potential to become an important tool in the early identification and management of patients at risk of osteoporotic fracture."

Gemini's patent on the COL1A1 polymorphism and its association with osteoporotic fracture risk is based on a discovery by researchers from the University of Aberdeen and validated by Gemini and its collaborators. Several studies have shown that the risk of fractures due to osteoporosis is greater in individuals with an unfavorable mutation of the COL1A1 gene, which appears to affect bone architecture and density. Bone mineral density (BMD) is typically measured using low dose X-Rays. Women with low BMD have up to a five-fold increased risk of fracture compared to normal BMD, whereas women who also have the COL1A1 variation are up to five times more likely to suffer a fracture than those with low BMD alone. A woman with both low BMD and the COL1A1 variation therefore has up to 25-fold increased risk of fracture compared to a woman with both normal BMD and a completely normal COL1A1 genotype. This implies that an integrated healthcare strategy whereby women who screen low for BMD are subsequently tested for COL1A1 could make a substantial difference to therapeutic choice and reduction in fracture occurrence. The COL1A1 polymorphism is estimated to be present in 15-20% of the population. Gemini owns the patent and exclusive commercialization rights to the COL1A1 association with osteoporotic fracture risk.

Gemini is a clinical genomics company focused on the discovery and commercialization of novel gene-based targets. Because it is clear that a comprehensive understanding of disease depends on the integration of genetics, proteomics, environmental factors and clinical and medical information from humans, Gemini's approach is to collect and analyze that information from a wide range of human population groups, including twins, disease-affected families, isolated (founder) populations and drug trial subjects. By investing in leading edge bioinformatics technologies, Gemini is able to effectively apply these resources to the acceleration of disease gene identification, target discovery, and drug development. Gemini aims to maximize revenue generation arising from the commercialization of its discoveries by retaining control over the gene discovery process and taking advantage of the greater potential value offered by later-stage licensing opportunities. The Company has offices in the United States, United Kingdom, Sweden and Canada. For more information about Gemini Genomics, visit the company's website, .

Except for the historical information presented, certain matters discussed in this press release are forward looking statements that are subject to a number of risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such statements. These risks and uncertainties may be associated with product discovery and development including statements regarding the Company's clinical development programs, the expected timing of clinical trials and regulatory filings. Other risks and uncertainties include discovering and developing the potential application based on gene associations and developing increased understanding of complex disorders. Such statements are based on management's current expectations, but actual results may differ materially.
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Publication:Business Wire
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jun 27, 2001
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