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Genzyme Earns Patent on Serial Analysis Of Gene Expression

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FRAMINGHAM, Mass.--Genzyme Molecular Oncology here has received a US patent on its Serial Analysis of Gene Expression (SAGE) technology. The patent was issued to scientists at Johns Hopkins University from the laboratories of Kenneth Kinzler and Bert Vogelstein. The Genzyme division obtained an exclusive license to SAGE as a result of its parent company's acquisition of PharmaGenics last year.

"SAGE's powerful technology has the ability to expand the discovery of commercial targets, reduce development time, and improve competitiveness for both our own and our customers' product development efforts," commented Gail Maderis, president of Genzyme Molecular Oncology. SAGE works by analyzing short pieces of genetic information, called SAGE tags, from expressed genes that exist in a given cell. The tags are linked together for efficient sequencing analysis.

In other news, the company also announced last month that it has signed a collaborative agreement with the US National Cancer Institute to search for new chemotherapy drugs. The collaboration will combine Genzyme's expertise in combinatorial chemistry and its 1 million-compound library with the institute's array of 60 cell-based cancer screens. Based on screening results, clinical development agreements will be negotiated for each compound the two parties choose to pursue. Genzyme will retain commercial rights to lead compounds identified under the collaboration.

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