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DoubleTwist Licenses CAT to Rigel Pharmaceuticals

NEW YORK, April 17 - Rigel Pharmaceuticals has agreed to license DoubleTwists's Clustering and Alignment Tools (CAT) for organizing expressed sequence tags and mRNA sequences into full-length gene sequences, the companies said Tuesday.

Rigel, based in South San Francisco, will use the tools in bioinformatics analysis of potential drug targets. The company focuses on identifying molecules that regulate a cell's response to disease, and has targeted asthma/allergy, autoimmune, cancer, and other diseases.

In addition to arranging EST and mRNA sequence information into full-length genes, CAT also uses statistics to correct sequencing and cloning errors, and isolates and analyzes alternative splice forms.

"Understanding alternative splicing is a key element in understanding the relationship between genes and disease," Robert Williamson, DoubleTwist's president, said in a statement. "Through its advanced algorithms for grouping and aligning ESTs and generating consensus gene sequences, CAT gives researchers an unparalleled ability to automatically resolve and visualize alternative splice forms."

Since emerging from a quiet period during which DoubleTwist made preparations but ultimately abandoned an attempt to place an initial public offering, the company has announced a number of new customers for its services. Last week, the company announced 20 new customers for its online genomic data analysis tools.  

Currently, over 25 companies subscribe to CAT, including Millenium Pharmaceuticals, Affymetrix, and Bristol-Myers Squibb, Oakland-based DoubleTwist said.  
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