NEW YORK, April 11 – The University of Geneva has licensed a key DNA-binding technology to Gene Soft, a South San Francisco, Calif.-based biotechnology company that is developing small molecule DNA sequence specific drugs, the organizations said Wednesday.
This technology, developed by Ulrich Laemmi, a professor of molecular biology at the University of Geneva, involves DNA-binding molecules that act to change the structure of chromatin, the complex formed by DNA and the proteins to make chromosomes.
Since the structure of chromatin influences whether DNA can “unzip” and express genes, Laemmi's DNA-binding molecules is designed to influence gene expression directly, and treat diseases caused by over-or-under expression of certain genes.
Laemmi has been developing this DNA-binding technology for the past 10 years in his lab, and recently published an article detailing his work in the November 22, 2000 issue of Cell .
"This work shows that basic research may be the source of very promising applications,” Jean-Dominique Vassalli, the University of Geneva’s vice-president for research, said in a statement. “We believe Genesoft is an excellent partner for developing therapeutic drugs based on our technology in the marketplace."
The University of Geneva has recently been the incubator of a number of private-sector genomics technologies, including the bioinformatics and proteomics developments that led to the formation of Geneva Proteomics.