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Sigma-Aldrich Corporation (SIAL) And Procognia Limited Enter Exclusive Partnership For Commercialization Of Functional Human Protein Arrays

10/19/2005 5:12:07 PM

ST. LOUIS, Nov. 8 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Sigma-Aldrich Corporation and Procognia have an exclusive agreement that calls for Sigma- Aldrich to market novel arrays of functional human proteins developed by Procognia. This agreement will significantly expand Sigma-Aldrich's pipeline of products for the advancement of proteomic research.

Procognia has developed a proprietary tag technology to create the first arrays of biologically-related human proteins that retain their native functions in the array format. The first protein array in the pipeline of products will contain wild type human p53 and its important germline SNP variants. The p53 protein is implicated in most cancers when its normal function to suppress tumor growth is reduced or lost through variation in its sequence. Procognia's functionally arrayed SNP variant proteins will be the first tool that enables researchers to investigate the mechanism of cancer progression on many proteins in parallel.

Additional protein arrays to be launched in the coming months will contain selected sets of biologically related human proteins including collections of proteins associated with key diseases including cancer and signal transduction. These arrays will enable understanding of biological pathways and the rapid screening of inhibitors of specific proteins in those pathways. These products are expected to become broadly used tools by most pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies to increase the speed and output of their drug discovery programs.

Other terms of the exclusive relationship between Sigma-Aldrich and Procognia were not released. In addition, Procognia has raised new financing totaling $23.5 million. Participants to support its development efforts included lead investor Apax Partners Funds, as well as other existing investors Evergreen Partners and Koor CVC, and new investor Star Ventures.

David Harvey, Chairman and CEO of Sigma-Aldrich, remarked, "I am pleased that Sigma-Aldrich will have the opportunity to exclusively market a product with the power to finally deliver functional arrays of human proteins. This proprietary technology represents a significant advancement over existing protein array technologies, which do not orient nor confer functionality of proteins on the array. This leading achievement will dramatically advance proteomic research to further uncover the mechanisms of human disease by enabling researchers to conduct functional assays on large numbers of proteins in a parallel manner. We feel that the technology developed by Procognia is the most innovative protein array technology available and the only technology that allows true functional analysis of proteins in parallel."

Ron Long, Procognia's CEO and former CEO of Amersham Pharmacia Biotech, said, "Sigma-Aldrich is emerging as the strongest force in leading edge proteomic tools for the life sciences market today, and I feel that they are the best partner for Procognia's protein function arrays. With the human p53 SNP arrays, we will mark a first in functional protein array development and open the door for rapid uptake of the future protein array products that will follow."

About Sigma-Aldrich: Sigma-Aldrich is a leading Life Science and High Technology company. The Company's biochemical and organic chemical products and kits are used in scientific and genomic research, biotechnology, pharmaceutical development, the diagnosis of disease and as key components in pharmaceutical and other high technology manufacturing. It has customers in life science companies, university and government institutions, hospitals, and in industry. Over one million scientists and technologists use its products. Sigma-Aldrich operates in 34 countries and has over 6,000 employees providing excellent service worldwide. The Company is committed to the success of its Customers, Employees and Shareholders through leadership in Life Science, High Technology and Service. For more information about Sigma-Aldrich, please visit its award-winning web site at

About Procognia: Procognia, a 2004 World Economic Forum Technology Pioneer award winner, is focused on developing and commercializing its cutting edge proprietary technologies that will enable the unraveling of disease mechanisms and the discovery and development of drugs to treat those diseases. In addition to developing protein function arrays, Procognia has also developed and is marketing a lectin array based platform that enables the high throughput, automated analysis of protein glycosylation. Glycosylation is the major post translational modification of protein drugs, and it is the most difficult aspect to analyze, monitor and control during the discovery and development of biologic medicines. Procognia's glycanalysis technology will increase the probability of success of glycoprotein drugs.

Procognia was formed in April 2002 with a corporate headquarters and manufacturing in Maidenhead, United Kingdom. Commercial operations are run from the United Kingdom and Exton, PA, United States, and supported by R&D facilities in Maidenhead, United Kingdom and Ashdod, Israel.

Sigma-Aldrich Corporation

CONTACT: Michael Hadjisavas of Sigma-Aldrich, +1-314-286-7431, orJohanna Griffin of Procognia, +1-610-321-2520

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