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Ribozyme Uses Bioinformatics to Develop New Drug

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BOULDER, Colo.--Ribozyme Pharmaceuticals here has developed a new ribozyme-based drug with a little help from its growing bioinformatics department. "We used bioinformatics to identify the drug," explained James McSwiggen, who heads the company's three-person bioinformatics department.

The department expanded over the past year to handle increased business from new collaborative efforts.

Ribozyme developed the new product, which is directed at the vascular endothelial growth factor, in collaboration with Chiron. The company, which opened its doors in 1995, also has collaborations with DowElanco, Pharmacia Biotech AB, and IntelliGene. In addition, it is working with Chiron and City of Hope Nation al Medical Center and Children's Hospital in Los Angeles to develop a gene therapy approach using ribozymes to fight the HIV virus.

In an effort to bolster its bioinformatics infrastructure, RBI may buy a new database server within the next year, McSwiggen added. The company is currently evaluating systems from Sun Microsys tems and Silicon Graphics.

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