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Rigel Licenses Antisense Technology from Sequitur

NEW YORK, Aug. 22 – Sequitur said on Wednesday it has licensed its antisense technology to Rigel Pharmaceuticals for use in functional genomics research.

The agreement calls for Sequitur, based in Natick, Mass., to provide Rigel with antisense compounds and methods for selecting and transfecting DNA sequences. In return, Rigel, based in South San Francisco, Calif., will pay research support, charges for antisense compounds, and licensing fees.

Financial details of the multi-year agreement were not disclosed.

Antisense technology relies on a synthetic single strand of DNA to block a target gene by binding to the transcribed RNA nucleotides, preventing them from encoding proteins. As an alternative to gene-knockout technologies, the technique is faster, cheaper, and allows researchers to study certain genes in adult mice that are vital to the animal's survival, Sequitur and other antisense companies say. By comparison, using knockout technology to inhibit such a gene would prevent the mouse from surviving as a fetus.

Rigel joins nine other major pharmaceutical companies, including Incyte, Amgen, Pharmacia, and GlaxoSmithKline, who have non-exclusive rights to Sequitur’s antisense technology. 

“We are pleased that Rigel has joined our program,” Tod Woolf, president of Sequitur, said in a statement. “We believe that Sequitur's target validation technology in combination with Rigel's technology integrates into a powerful tool for rapidly identifying novel drug targets.”

In July, Isis Pharmaceuticals, another provider of antisense technology and services, sued Sequitur for patent infringement.

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