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Lynx Therapeutics Sells Worldwide Rights to Novel Oligo Technology to Geron

NEW YORK, March 6 - Lynx Therapeutics on Wednesday said it has sold the worldwide rights to its novel oligonucleotide technology to Geron, the controversial stem-cell-development company, for roughly $2.5 million.

The cash-and-stock deal covers the sale of a family of patents that covers process and compositional matter related to oligos containing N3'-P5' phosphoramidate backbone linkages.

According to Lynx, these oligos, developed through the company's Megaclone technology, have been shown to form sequence-specific stable complexes with both RNA and DNA, and are believed to be highly resistant to nucleases. Additionally, they may have applications in antisense and antigene therapeutic drug discovery and target validation, and are being investigated as potential therapeutic and diagnostic agents.

Geron, of Menlo Park, Calif., will also receive a manufacturing process for its telomerase inhibitor GRN163, which is now in preclinical development as an anti-cancer agent. "These molecules have demonstrated high target specificity and affinity, highlighting their potential for use as efficient and less toxic therapeutic agents for treating cancer and other diseases," Geron said in a separate statement.

Financial details of the deal were not disclosed.

"We initiated discussions with Lynx for rights to these patents to gain freedom to operate," David L. Greenwood, Geron's CFO and senior vice president of corporate development, said in his company's statement. "The acquisition, rather than a license, will substantially improve Geron's economics in the marketing of the drug,".

"Lynx is focused on expanding the commercial applications of its genomics and proteomics technologies," added Norrie Russell, president and CEO of Hayward, Calif.-based Lynx. "We believe that this was an excellent opportunity to realize value from the amidate patent portfolio developed earlier in our history."

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