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Technology for Massively Parallel DNA Amplification

 
  November, 25 2003 18:43
your information resource in human molecular genetics
 
     
A massively parallel PicoTiterPlateTM based platform for discrete picoliter-scale polymerase chain reactions
John H. Leamon, William L. Lee, Karrie R. Tartaro, Janna R. Lanza, Gary J. Sarkis, Alex D. deWinter, Jan Berka, Kenton L. Lohman
ELECTROPHORESIS - Volume 24, Issue 21 , Pages 3769 - 3777

BRANFORD, Conn., Nov. 18 /PRNewswire/ -- 454 Life Sciences, an innovative technology company working to make the sequencing of whole genomes of any size commonplace and a majority-owned subsidiary of CuraGen Corporation (Nasdaq: CRGN), today announced that the Company's novel method to prepare and amplify all fragments of a genome for sequencing in a single, massively parallel operation has been published in the journal Electrophoresis. The method describes the amplification component of the Company's proprietary systems approach. This is the first solid-phase sequencing technology designed to miniaturize, as well as compress the time and cost required for determining the nucleotide sequence of whole genomes.

The manuscript is titled "A massively parallel PicoTiterPlate(TM) based platform for discrete picoliter-scale polymerase chain reactions," and is accessible online at http://www.wiley-vch.de/publish/en/journals/alphabeticIndex/2027/. The authors demonstrate successful, simultaneous polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplification of several hundred thousand discrete reactions in a novel platform called the PicoTiterPlate. Furthermore, this elevated throughput was accomplished using micro fluidic reaction wells, which are so small that four wells fit on the end of a human hair, thus achieving a well volume of only 75 picoliters. This breakthrough will greatly facilitate large-scale, whole genome library sequencing without the time-consuming sample preparation and expensive, error-prone cloning processes.

"The pace at which we're scaling this technology is a testament to our focus on revolutionizing the entire practice of whole genome sequencing, from sample in the door to completed assembly," stated Richard F. Begley, Ph.D., President and CEO of 454 Life Sciences. "As we prepare for commercialization in 2004, our goal is to make 454 Life Sciences' technology robust and easy to use for all potential customers with genomes of any size that need sequencing. While this is a small step towards simple, fast, and cost-effective whole genome sequencing, I believe our progress is among the most important to-date. The potential applications for the technology and services include anti- bioterrorism and the fight against emerging pathogens, agricultural research, drug development, and academic research."

Established in 2000, 454 Life Sciences develops technologies and tools to sequence whole genomes using a massively parallel, scalable platform that compresses the time, cost, sample preparation, and space required to determine the nucleotide sequence of whole genomes. The Company's technology is the first solid-phase sequencing technology designed to scale from viral, to bacterial, and ultimately, to human genomes. Unlike genome mapping, which shows how large pieces of DNA break at points of interest, 454 Life Sciences' whole genome sequencing technology rapidly determines a genome's full nucleotide sequence. The Company's technology enables a single individual to not only prepare, but also sequence a genome after performing only one sample preparation, irrespective of the size of the genome being investigated. This approach is in stark contrast to standard sequencing methods that are significantly more expensive and laborious. For example, to sequence the human genome, the effort required approximately 60 million sample preparations, 12 years and $2.7 billion dollars. The Company plans to commercialize its technology by selling instruments and offering genomic sequencing services starting in the first half of 2004.

About 454 Life Sciences

454 Life Sciences is developing novel technologies for rapidly and comprehensively determining the nucleotide sequence -- "whole genome sequencing" -- of entire genomes. The Company's technology is expected to have broad applications in industrial processes, agriculture, animal health, biodefense, and human health care, including drug discovery and development, and disease diagnosis. 454 Life Sciences is a majority owned subsidiary of CuraGen Corporation (Nasdaq: CRGN). 454 Life Sciences was funded primarily through two private placements from investors including CuraGen Corporation, Cooper Hill Partners, LLC, Quantum Partners, and members of CuraGen's senior management team. Additional information is available at http://www.454.com.

About CuraGen

CuraGen Corporation (Nasdaq: CRGN) is a genomics-based pharmaceutical company dedicated to improving the lives of patients by developing a pipeline of novel protein, antibody, and small molecule therapeutics in the areas of obesity and diabetes, oncology, inflammation, and central nervous system disorders. CuraGen's therapeutics are based on internally discovered novel genes from the human genome that are believed to play a role in important mechanisms underlying disease, including peripheral metabolism, cell proliferation, and anti-angiogenesis. CuraGen has established broad development alliances with Abgenix and Bayer, and its experienced preclinical and clinical teams are rapidly advancing the Company's pipeline of products for critical unmet medical needs. CuraGen's expertise in systems biology, genomics and bioinformatics is now being used to prioritize drug candidates with the highest chance of reaching the market and to help predict efficacy and safety in clinical trials. CuraGen's technology and expertise has been used in partnerships with more than a dozen leading Biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies including Bayer, Biogen, Genentech, GlaxoSmithKline, Hoffmann-La Roche and Pfizer. The Company is headquartered in New Haven, CT and additional information is available at http://www.curagen.com.

This press release may contain forward-looking statements, including statements about (i) our ability to greatly facilitate large-scale, whole genome library sequencing without the time-consuming sample preparation and expensive, error-prone cloning processes; (ii) our ability to revolutionize the entire practice of whole genome sequencing, from sample in the door to completed assembly, (iii) our plan to commercialize our whole genome sequencing technology by selling instruments and offering genomic sequencing services starting in the first half of 2004; (iv) our expectation of to making our technology robust and easy to use for all potential customers with genomes of any size that need sequencing; and (v) our ability to apply our technology and services to anti-bioterrorism and the fight against emerging pathogens, agricultural research, drug development, and academic research. Such statements are based on management's current expectations and are subject to a number of risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those described in the forward-looking statements. 454 Life Sciences and CuraGen caution investors that there can be no assurance that actual results or business conditions will not differ materially from those projected or suggested in such forward-looking statements as a result of various factors, including, but not limited to, the following: the early stage of development of 454's products and technologies, CuraGen's stage of development as a genomics-based pharmaceutical company, uncertainties of clinical trials, government regulation and healthcare reform, technological uncertainty and product development risks, product liability exposure, uncertainty of additional funding, 454's and CuraGen's history of incurring losses and the uncertainty of achieving profitability, CuraGen's reliance on research collaborations and strategic alliances, competition, patent infringement claims against 454's and CuraGen's products, processes and technologies, the ability to protect 454's and CuraGen's patents and proprietary rights and uncertainties relating to commercialization rights. Please refer to CuraGen's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2002 for a description of these risks. 454 and CuraGen disclaim any intention or obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events, or otherwise, unless required by law.


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