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 PHILADELPHIA, Feb. 8 /PRNewswire/ -- The University of Pennsylvania and Neose Pharmaceuticals Inc. of Horsham, Pa., confirmed the issuance of U.S. Patent No. 5,180,674 on Jan. 19, 1993. The patent, which was issued to the University, is part of the work done by a Penn biologist, Stephen Roth, Ph.D., and has been licensed exclusively to Neose. The patent covers the synthesis of complex carbohydrates using glycosyltransferases, a class of enzymes (catalysts) that make economically feasible the synthesis of essentially all complex carbohydrates found in nature.
 Although carbohydrates have been known to have considerable potential uses as therapeutic and diagnostic compounds, a simple process for obtaining the enzymes necessary for their manufacture has eluded researchers.
 Until Neose's discovery of a novel process to obtain and use these enzymes easily, it was uneconomical to move into the development stage with these promising compounds. Neose researchers believe that with their technology, the therapeutic and diagnostic potential of complex carbohydrates is now realizable, thereby opening a new frontier in biotechnology.
 The patent, based on Neose's novel technology, is the first broad biotechnology patent covering the use of these enzymes in the synthesis of carbohydrates.
 "This broad patent is scientifically and commercially very significant for the University and its licensee, Neose. It protects Neose as it develops and eventually markets an exciting new class of therapeutic and diagnostic products much earlier than had been possible prior to these developments," said Stephen Sammut, intellectual property officer and director of The Center for Technology Transfer at the University of Pennsylvania.
 "This patent propels Neose into a leadership position in the development and manufacture of human health care products based on complex carbohydrates, and accelerates the commercial development of the company's complex carbohydrate manufacturing technology. In order to expedite the commercialization of carbohydrate-based therapeutics, Neose is interested in cultivating alliances with possible sublicensees," said Dennis H. Langer, M.D., J.D., president and chief executive officer of Neose.
 "Others are working on processes for the synthesis of very specific carbohydrates. Before the development of our technology, no process had been developed permitting the synthesis of any carbohydrate of interest. One of the most important advantages of our technology is that it permits us to be first in making a broad range of these compounds, discovering their therapeutic and diagnostic activity, and commercializing them," added Roth, chief scientific officer at Neose and professor of biology (on leave) at Penn.
 Founded in 1990, Neose is a private, development stage biopharmaceutical company. The company is dedicated to the discovery, development, manufacture, and commercialization of complex carbohydrates for pharmaceutical, diagnostic, nutritional and other healthcare applications. Neose has synthesized several biologically active, human complex carbohydrates. The company's lead compounds are targeted toward the treatment and prevention of inflammatory disorders and a wide variety of infectious diseases including peptic ulcers and other gastrointestinal infections, respiratory infections, ear infections, urinary tract infections, and sexually transmitted diseases.
 Corporate Backgrounder on Neose Pharmaceuticals Inc.
 Neose is a development stage biopharmaceutical company dedicated to the discovery, development, manufacture and commercialization of oligosaccharides (complex carbohydrates) for human health care applications. Oligosaccharides are involved in most cases of cell- cell recognition, including those that cause infectious diseases and inflammatory disorders.
 Most pathogens (bacteria, viruses and fungi) bind to host cells through cell surface "lock-and key" oligosaccharides interactions. Pathogens attach specifically to host tissue using surface proteins (lectins) that bind to particular oligosaccharide sequences located on host cells. These oligosaccharide sequences are usually organ specific. The introduction of free oligosaccharides can competitively inhibit pathogens from attaching to and infecting healthy cells. Because attachment is a prerequisite to infection, such a strategy offers a novel approach to fighting infection, and has the potential to overcome problems in current therapies including side effects, antigenicity, resistance and poor specificity.
 Neose's approach mimics the body's natural response to pathogens. Humans synthesize free oligosaccharides identical to cell surface oligosaccharides. These free oligosaccharides are present in many biological fluids, such as serum, saliva, tears, milk, gastrointestinal secretions and urine. They function as decoys by binding to the pathogen to competitively inhibit pathogen binding to healthy cells. For example, human milk and colostrum contain free oligosaccharides to prevent the attachment of certain bacteria to gastrointestinal, urinary tract, and respiratory cells. Oligosaccharides are, therefore, "natural" anti-infectives. Oligosaccharides, also through anti-adhesive effects, can inhibit the inflammatory response to injury and could have applications for reprefusion injury, autoimmune disorders, asthma, and arthritis.
 Despite the increasing realization of the important role of oligosaccharides, oligosaccharide-based therapeutics have not been developed and commercialized because complex carbohydrates are extremely difficult to synthesize by conventional organic synthesis.
 Neose has developed a proprietary core technology that enables it to readily synthesize clinically important oligosaccharides enzymatically. Neose's methods can produce oligosaccharides consisting of any linkages that exist in nature. Stereochemistry and sequence specificities are achieved by glycosyltransferases. Neose's methods utilize the same enzymes that synthesize cell surface and free oligosaccharides in vivo.
 Recently, Neose has completed the synthesis of several oligosaccharides that Neose believes will have important commercial applications. The first compound, NE0080 is a replica of the gastric cell surface oligosaccharide to which the bacterium Helicobacter pylori binds. Helicobacter pylori causes gastritis and has been implicated in the pathogenesis of peptic ulcers and gastric carcinoma. Neose intends to develop NE0080 as an anti-ulcer pharmaceutical. The worldwide anti-ulcer market had sales of $8 billion in 1992. The second compound, NE1340, is a human milk oligosaccharide and appears to lower the risk of a variety of infections in breast-fed infants. Neose intends to develop NE1340 an additive to infant formula. The worldwide infant formula was more than $5 billion in 1992. The third compound, NE 1405, is the oligosaccharide to which the PADGEM (P-selectin) protein binds. Neose intends to develop NE 1405 to prevent undesired cardiovascular inflammatory effects, such as occur in reperfusion injury and restenosis following angioplasty. The fourth compound, NE 1704, is the oligosaccharide to which the ELAM-1 (E-selectin) protein binds. Neose intends to develop NE 1704 to inhibit undesired inflammation.
 Current priorities of Neose's 28 employees involve the development of its lead compounds at Neose's new facilities in Horsham. Neose also continues to improve the efficiency of its oligosaccharide synthesis and manufacturing technology.
 Neose's operations are directed by Dennis H. Langer, M.D., J.D., president and chief executive officer. Langer joined Neose following senior marketing and clinical research management positions at Eli Lilly & Co., Abbott Laboratories, and Searle. The chief scientific officer is Stephen Roth, Ph.D., former chairman of biology at the University of Pennsylvania, currently on leave. James Koch, formerly of Searle, is Neose's chief financial officer. The board of directors includes Lindsay Rosenwald, M.D. (chairman), William Hamilton, Ph.D., Langer, John Pappajohn, and Roth.
 Neose's scientific advisory board is comprised of Baruch Blumberg, M.D., Ph.D., (chairman), Merton Bernfield, M.D., Harold Neu, M.D., Harry Schachter, M.D., Ph.D., Stanton Segal, M.D., Barry Shur, Ph.D., and George Whitesides, Ph.D. Neose is emerging as a leader among companies in the carbohydrate field. Neose believes its proprietary core technology for the low-cost production of a wide variety of oligosaccharides identical to those produced in humans offers a competitive advantage over other carbohydrate companies.
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 /CONTACT: Dennis H. Langer, M.D., J.D., president and CEO, or Stephen Roth, Ph.D., chief scientific officer of Neose Pharmaceuticals, 215-441-5890; or Carol Farnsworth, associate vice president, University Relations of University of Pennsylvania, 215-898-8721; or Mark J. Brand of Pondel Parsons & Wilkinson, 310-207-9300, for Neose Pharmaceuticals/

CO: Neose Pharmaceuticals; University of Pennsylvania ST: Pennsylvania IN: MTC SU:

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