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GenPat77 AG Initiates Therapeutic Program Targeting Novel Protein Involved In Immune System Activation

10/19/2005 5:09:19 PM

BERLIN, Germany, June 21 /PRNewswire/ -- GenPat77, a company focused on the discovery of innovative immune Modulatory products, announced today the discovery of a novel protein, TZAP7 That regulates immune cell activation via the Notch signaling system. Notch is a family of receptors implicated in controlling immune cell regulation. Initial research, presented today at the 9th Basic Science Symposium of the Transplantation Society in Nantes, La Baulle, France, suggests that therapeutic blockage of TZAP7 may lead to new treatments for preventing transplant rejection and other disorders caused by over activation of the immune response. In addition, due to its apparent tissue specificity, TZAP7 may act as a biomarker for diagnostic applications. GenPat77 has initiated therapeutic and diagnostic programs targeting this protein. The research was conducted in collaboration with Brigham and Women's Hospital (Boston, USA) and Charite, Humbolt University (Berlin, Germany).

"This discovery of an entirely novel target is very exciting and demonstrates the broad applicability of our research. TZAP7 appears to play a key role in the Notch signaling pathway. These data suggest that blocking the action of this protein could lead to a more targeted approach to immune suppression, which is essential when treating disorders such as transplant rejection," noted Nalan Utku, MD, CEO of GenPat77, the inventor and lead investigator in the studies. "We have now initiated a research program targeting TZAP7 for both therapeutics and diagnostic applications for treatment of undesired immune activation."

In the recent studies alloactivated primary human T cell lines were analyzed using DDRT-PCR and an up-regulated cDNA fragment named TZAP7 was isolated and used to identify the full length clone from a human cDNA library. TZAP7 expression was then analyzed by northern and RT-PCR analyses. Antisense inhibition experiments were performed to characterize the cellular response after suppression of TZAP7 signaling in human peripheral blood lymphocytes.

TZAP7 mRNA was found to be up-regulated after 24 h of alloactivation and exclusively expressed in lymph nodes, thymus, spleen, tonsils and activated peripheral blood mononuclear cells. Blocking TZAP7 with antisense techniques resulted in a significant inhibition in the proliferation of mononuclear cells and a down regulation of CD25, CD28, CD71 and HLA DR in T cells.

GenPat77 is focused on the discovery of innovative immune modulatory products for rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, inflammatory bowel disease and the prevention of transplant rejection. Based on a fundamental understanding of the human immune system, GenPat77 is able to target key proteins in the immune cascade and appropriately modulate the immune response according to each specific indication. The company was founded in Berlin, Germany (1998) based on exclusively licensed intellectual property rights on immune related targets from Brigham and Women's Hospital, an affiliate hospital of Harvard Medical School, Boston, USA. The company has licensed TIRC7, a novel molecule involved in immune regulation, to MedImmune for development of biologics and small molecule drugs. For further information visit the company's website at


CONTACT: GenPat77: Nalan Utku, MD, Chief Executive Officer,+49-30-24-62-66-80. Halsin Partners: Mike Sinclair, +44-870-747-0880; HeikeHeinrichs, +49-89-25-55-06-50

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