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DNA 2.0, Inc. Awarded NIH-National Human Genome Research Institute Gene Synthesis Grant


10/19/2005 5:11:32 PM

MENLO PARK, Calif., Sept. 21 /PRNewswire/ -- DNA 2.0, Inc. (http://www.dnatwopointo.com/), a leader in custom gene synthesis and protein engineering has been awarded a Small Business Innovative Research grant by the National Human Genome Research Institute, a division of the U.S. National Institutes of Health. The project goals are to increase the fidelity and reduce the cost of synthetic DNA manufacture.

Rapid, accurate and affordable gene synthesis enables the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries to take advantage of exponentially increasing amounts of sequence information. Since its founding in January 2003, DNA 2.0 has led a vigorous expansion of the gene synthesis market through its NA-2-Go(TM) platform, cutting industry average prices from around $8/bp to between $2 and $3 today and reducing average delivery times from months to days. This speed and price allows many genes to be synthesized routinely by biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies who recognize the cost benefits of manufactured synthetic DNA. Nevertheless current gene synthesis technologies are still too slow and expensive to meet all of the needs of the genomic and health sciences community. The work to be performed in this grant aims to further reduce the cost and increase the speed of gene synthesis. The result will be an increase in the range of companies and academic research groups who can take advantage of the convenience of synthetic DNA to pursue more cost-effective and efficient research and development.

"Gene synthesis has the potential to replace a large amount of tedious and time consuming molecular biology throughout the life science industry sector as well as in academia. The size of this market is primarily limited by price," said Claes Gustafsson, Ph.D., vice president of operations at DNA 2.0, Inc. "Sequence information produced from the human genome and other large scale sequencing projects is more and more readily available. In contrast, obtaining physical genes corresponding to these sequences is often difficult and slow. Synthetic DNA also allows researchers to design genes with features that are absent from the natural sequences, such as optimizing for expression, eliminating or adding restriction sites and creating functional variants. By further reducing the cost of synthetic DNA we hope to make these benefits more widely available and anticipate a considerable expansion in the market for synthetic genes."

Consistent with the firm's charter to exploit the synergy between highly efficient gene synthesis and new protein optimization technologies, the grant will also impact the DNA 2.0's DeNovo Genes(TM) protein engineering technology. DeNovo Genes(TM) uses design, synthesis and testing of individual gene variants for commercially relevant properties, thereby avoiding the expense and inaccuracies common to approaches using high throughput surrogate screens. Faster and cheaper gene synthesis is making DeNovo Genes(TM) technology even more cost-effective.

About NIH

The National Institutes of Health is the steward of medical and behavioral research for the Nation. It is an agency under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, with headquarters in Bethesda, Maryland and the surrounding area. For more information, visit the NIH online -- http://www.nih.gov/ .

About NHGRI

The National Human Genome Research Institute, located in Bethesda, Maryland, led the National Institutes of Health's contribution to the international Human Genome Project, which has as its primary goal the sequencing of the human genome. This project was successfully competed in April 2003, and now the mission has expanded to encompass a broad range of studies aimed at understanding the structure and function of the human genome and its role in health disease. To that end, NHGRI supports the development of resources and technology that will accelerate genome research and its application to human health. For more information, visit the NHGRI online -- http://www.nhgri.nih.gov/ .

About DNA 2.0, Inc.

DNA 2.0 is applying its DeNovo Genes(TM) platform technology to design and produce information-rich gene variants. These gene variants are synthesized individually and then tested for functional activity. The data is analyzed and mapped as a mega dimensional projection of the correlated sequence-function space. The DeNovo Genes(TM) technology is uniquely suited to engineering proteins for commercial applications such as industrial biocatalysis and healthcare products such as therapeutic proteins and diagnostic reagents. For more information please visit http://www.dnatwopointo.com/ or email info@dnatwopointo.com.

DNA 2.0, Inc.

CONTACT: DNA 2.0, Inc., corpcom@dnatwopointo.com; or Kaye McKinzie ofAperio Healthcare, +1-415-927-7365, or kaye@aperiohc.com


Read at BioSpace.com

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