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First US Patent for Athersys on Expression System

NEW YORK, April 23-The United States patent office has granted functional genomics firm Athersys its first patent for its gene expression system.


The patent covers activation and production of secreted proteins and cell surface proteins in Athersys' "Random Activation of Gene Expression" technology. It was issued on March 26, 2002, but the company announced the patent today.


The RAGE system allows researchers to express proteins without first cloning and isolating genes, by integrating specialized activation sequences into the genome of the host cell.


The company has established four major collaborations with pharmaceutical partners based on the technology.


According to Athersys, it has filed 17 other patents on this technique, and expects additional approvals in the next six months.


Athersys is using its library of secreted proteins to identify factors that regulate cellular function, growth, and development, among other projects, said company chairman, president, and CEO Gil Van Bokkelen in a statement.


Athersys is based in Cleveland, Ohio.

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