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Quark Biotech Gets US Patent for Microarray-Based Gene ID Technique

NEW YORK, July 29 - The genomics-based drug discovery company Quark Biotech was granted a U.S. patent for a technique to identify genes that encode for membranal and secreted proteins, the company said today.

Quark's technique identifies cDNAs and genes of interest by using template RNA extracted from membrane-bound and free polysomes to create probes. The method then uses microarrays to compare the relative abundance of different RNA segments.

According to Quark, the technique allows researchers to identify promising drug targets without first needing to know gene sequences.These proteins are of pharmaceutical interest because they are often involved in molecular transport, cell recognition and cell-to-cell communication, and are biologically accessible.

The patent was granted by the U.S. Patent and Trade Office on June 11.

Quark Biotech, based in Cleveland, is a privately held drug development company with research labs in Pleasanton, Calif. and Ness-Ziona, Israel. It bought Incyte's microarray businessearlier this month.

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