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Exelixis, IMCB Uncover Genes Involved in Immunity

NEW YORK, Dec. 18 – Exelixis and France’s Institute of Molecular and Cellular Biology have identified genes that play a role in immunity, Exelixis said Tuesday.

The findings, which have been published in the Dec. 18 issue of The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences , may have implications for the development of new treatments for asthma and rheumatoid arthritis, Exelixis said.

"Our internal efforts coupled with our collaboration with Dr. Jules Hoffman of the IMCB continue to discover promising candidates which, as they advance further through our pipeline, may lead to more effective approaches for the treatment of human inflammatory diseases," George Scangos, CEO of Exelixis, said in a statement.

Exelixis of South San Francisco, Calif., has the commercial rights to use the targets that were discovered. 

The collaborative effort focused on studying the immune system of Drosophila. The researchers introduced fungal and bacterial pathogens into the fruit fly and then monitored some 14,000 genes for changes in gene expression.