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VERTEX PHARMACEUTICALS RECEIVES NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION GRANT TO DEVELOP NOVEL ENZYME TECHNOLOGY

 VERTEX PHARMACEUTICALS RECEIVES NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION GRANT
 TO DEVELOP NOVEL ENZYME TECHNOLOGY
 CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Jan. 23 /PRNewswire/ -- Vertex Pharmaceuticals Incorporated (NASDAQ: VRTX) announced today that it has received a $50,000 National Science Foundation grant to advance the development of its Cross-Linked Enzyme Crystal technology (CLECs(tm)) for use as catalysts in organic syntheses. The grant was awarded under the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program.
 "Our cross-linked enzyme crystals have demonstrated significant promise as biocatalysts," said Dr. Joshua Boger, president of Vertex. "The research funded by the grant will aid us in applying this innovative technology to the development of a variety of CLEC products for use as laboratory reagents and eventually as catalysts in industrial processes."
 Invented by Vertex scientists, CLECs are a novel form of enzyme that have been crystallized and chemically modified to enhance their usefulness in a range of applications. In a prototype system employing the enzyme thermolysin, Vertex scientists have demonstrated that CLECs have a variety of technically and commercially advantageous properties such as high density and high activity, stability in harsh conditions of temperature and pH or in the presence of organic solvents, and elimination of the need for immobilization support. Thermolysin is an enzyme used in the manufacture of the artificial sweetner aspartame. The Vertex research under the grant is directed by Dr. Manuel Navia, head of the company's X-ray crystallography group.
 In addition to organic synthesis in industrial processing, CLEC technology has potential applications in human therapeutics as enzyme replacement therapy for inherited metabolic diseases and in biosensors for medical, industrial, environmental, and agricultural markets. In March 1991, the company received an SBIR grant award from the National Institutes of Health to support the development of CLECs for use in biosensors.
 Vertex is a leader in the use of structure-based rational drug design, a scientific approach to drug discovery through which synthetic compounds are designed at the atomic level to interact with protein targets associated with particular disease processes. Vertex applies this approach, involving the integration of advanced biology, chemistry, and biophysics to create novel, small molecule compounds, with the goal of developing these compounds into orally deliverable drugs to treat major diseases. The company is focusing on three major therapeutic areas: immunology, antiviral chemotherapy, and inflammation.
 -0- 1/23/92
 /CONTACT: Richard H. Aldrich, 617-576-3111, vice president of Vertex; or Robert Gottlieb, 617-577-8110, of Feinstein Partners for Vertex/
 (VRTX) CO: Vertex Pharmaceuticals Incorporated ST: Massachusetts IN: MTC SU:


PB -- NE005 -- 2678 01/23/92 10:04 EST
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Date:Jan 23, 1992
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