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Cancer Research UK Adopts Dharmacon, Inc. Gene-Silencing Technology

10/19/2005 5:13:04 PM

LAFAYETTE, Colo., April 18 /PRNewswire/ -- Dharmacon, Inc., the world's leading supplier of innovative RNA and RNA-interference (RNAi) research products, announced today an agreement to provide siRNA libraries to Cancer Research UK, one of the world's leading charities dedicated to research on the causes, treatment and prevention of cancer. The siRNA libraries, which were developed using Dharmacon's proprietary SMARTselection(TM) and SMARTpool(R) technology platforms, initially include protein kinase genes and associated pathways. Cancer Research UK is the world's largest volunteer-based cancer research organization, supporting the work of more than 3,000 research scientists, doctors and nurses at 80 leading academic institutions across the United Kingdom. It is one of the few independent organizations with the ability to take pioneering cancer research from the laboratory bench to the patient's bedside, supporting both basic research and clinical trials.

"We believe that RNAi functional genomic studies have great potential in helping us achieve our vision of using world-class research to conquer cancer in two generations," said Dr. Julian Downward, principal scientist, Signal Transduction Laboratory at Cancer Research UK. "Our initial efforts over the past 18 months using retroviral vector RNAi showed us that we need more efficient and reliable gene silencing to achieve higher penetrance in our screens. We now have had success in pilot studies using high-throughput siRNA oligonucleotide assays, and we look forward to working with this collection from Dharmacon targeting nearly a thousand human genes known to be important in cell signaling."

Dharmacon's siARRAY(R) siRNA libraries are powerful tools for rapidly analyzing large sets of related genes. By combining the SMARTselection siRNA design algorithm with its innovative SMARTpool method of pooling four highly functional siRNAs, the siRNA reagents offer increased silencing specificity and reduced likelihood of false positive and false negative assay results -- important considerations in high-throughput screens. This consistent high level of performance is enabling a wide variety of novel biological studies, including high-throughput applications in drug discovery and development.

"As the leading provider of siRNA products and technologies, Dharmacon is committed to advancing the use of RNAi technology to help address major killers like cancer," said Leland Foster, president and chief executive officer of the Biosciences group of Fisher Scientific International Inc. "The adoption of our gene silencing technology by one of the most productive and respected cancer institutions in the world is another indication that Dharmacon is making good progress in achieving this goal."

Recognized as the European leader in the development of novel anti-cancer treatments, Cancer Research UK's centers of excellence attract internationally renowned scientists and provide them with the advanced technology and facilities needed for cutting-edge research. With its annual scientific budget of more than 213 million pounds Sterling raised almost entirely through public donations, Cancer Research UK supports and undertakes a comprehensive program of research which targets all aspects of cancer, including the biology and causes of cancer, development of cancer therapeutics, cancer prevention and improving the quality of life of cancer patients. Four major groups within the organization will be involved in screening the siRNA library, with the aim of identifying novel targets for cancer therapeutics.

Cancer Research UK research teams studying signal transduction, protein phosphorylation, secretory pathways, and biochemical regulatory mechanisms will initially use the siRNA reagents. "If successful, we hope to extend the screening to much larger siRNA libraries," added Dr. Downward.

About Dharmacon

Dharmacon is the world's leading provider of reliable, high-quality RNA oligonucleotides, small-interfering RNA (siRNA) and related RNA-interference (RNAi) products and technologies. Dharmacon is part of the Fisher Biosciences group, a unit of Fisher Scientific International Inc., and is available in Europe through Perbio Science. Using its core expertise in chemistry, biology, bioinformatics and production, Dharmacon has developed industry-leading siRNA design, chemical modification, and delivery technologies for maximizing the efficiency of gene silencing. Dharmacon's proprietary SMARTselection(TM) and SMARTpool(R) technologies result in potent and specific gene-silencing agents that can accelerate life-science research and drug discovery. Dharmacon's siGENOME(TM), a comprehensive and flexible siRNA collection, offers guaranteed silencing reagents for all unique human mouse and rat genes. The company's advanced siRNA modification technologies further enhance silencing specificity, stability, and in vivo performance. Dharmacon was founded in 1995 and is based in Lafayette, Colo. For more information, visit the company's Web site at or call 303-604-9499.

Contacts: Dharmacon: Michael Deines Media: Barbara Lindheim Vice President, Sales & Marketing GendeLLindheim BioCom Partners 303-604-9499 212-918-4650

Dharmacon, Inc.

CONTACT: Michael Deines of Dharmacon, Vice President, Sales & Marketing,+1-303-604-9499; or Media: Barbara Lindheim of GendeLLindheim BioCom Partners,+1-212-918-4650

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