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Merck & Co. (MRK) Licenses Red/ET Recombination, A Novel DNA Engineering Technology, From Gene Bridges

10/19/2005 5:10:01 PM

DRESDEN, Germany, Feb. 16 /PRNewswire/ -- Gene Bridges GmbH announced today, it has completed a non-exclusive license agreement of its Red/ET Recombination technology with Merck & Co., Inc. "We are very pleased to add Merck to the growing list of pharmaceutical and biotech companies using this breakthrough technology," said Gary Stevens, CEO of Gene Bridges. "Red/ET Recombination, also known as ET cloning or Lambda-mediated cloning, allows DNA constructs to be designed and created without size or site restrictions." The license includes the use of Red/ET Recombination technologies for numerous applications in DNA engineering. No other details were disclosed.

About Red/ET Technology

Red (R)/ET (R) Recombination is a novel DNA Engineering technology which represents a breakthrough in DNA cloning and mutagenesis with regard to size, precise manipulation and modification of DNA molecules: Red/ET Recombination enables the cloning of much larger DNA sequences. Traditional cloning technologies are limited to sequences approaching 20 kilo bases (kb), with Red/ET sequences of well over 200 kb can be cloned. Cloning with Red/ET Recombination is much more precise than in vitro processes. This in vivo technology uses the endogenous proofreading and repair mechanisms of the bacterium cell and therefore avoids PCR derived in vitro mutagenesis. Red/ET allows precise modifications at any chosen position of the DNA molecule. Insertions, deletions or point mutations can be performed at any point of the molecule since Red/ET works independent of inconvenient restriction sites. Red/ET makes DNA engineering simple and faster because the cloning of the target DNA is a one step procedure. BAC modifications can be performed in 2 weeks with Red/ET versus 3 months using conventional methods.

In 2001, Gene Bridges moved from Heidelberg to Dresden and is currently based at the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics (MPI-CBG). Over the next few weeks, the company will transfer to the new laboratories in the Bio Innovation Center (BIOZ) in Dresden. BIOZ is one of the world's most innovative Biotech incubators. It opened its doors in December 2003.

"Gene Bridges is an excellent example of a biotech company profiting from our 'biosaxony' biotech offensive. Through the launch of this program in 2000, the Free State of Saxony has created the basis for scientific results to be quickly and successfully placed in international markets," says Dr Martin Gillo, Saxony's Minister for Economics and Labor. "Companies like Gene Bridges are working with research scientists from the universities under one roof. The Max Planck Institute as well the medical faculty and other research institutions are within walking distance from the Bio Innovation Center (BIOZ) -- the same concept has already been implemented at BioCity in Leipzig. In this way, cooperation between the parties becomes very efficient. As far as the infrastructure and research support is concerned, we are concentrating our efforts on medical applications for biotechnology. With this concept, we 'biosaxony' has become one of the leading German biotech regions."

About Gene Bridges

Gene Bridges GmbH is a self-funded, biotech company which concentrates on innovative DNA engineering technologies. Gene Bridges commercializes its exclusive rights of the patented Red/ET Recombination technology worldwide by DNA services, licenses and products. The company was founded in 2000 as a spin-off of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) and moved to Dresden in 2001. The management team includes Prof. A. Francis Stewart, PhD, and Youming Zhang, PhD, the inventors of Red/ET Recombination, and Gary Stevens, CEO, a business economist.

About Biosaxony

Saxony's biotechnology offensive -- launched in 2000 with a budget of about 200 million euros -- has successfully boosted growth in the biotech sector of the Free State. An internationally significant biotech cluster comprising the scientific and economic centers of Dresden and Leipzig is growing under the label of "biosaxony". The heart of Saxony´s biotechnology sector includes over 45 core companies. A total of 150 companies are working in and with biotechnology. They include major pharmaceutical companies, spin- offs from research institutions and universities, start-ups, scale-ups and big players. Most of these companies are involved in medical applications of biotechnology. Biosaxony is one of the leading biotech regions in Germany.

For further information about Gene Bridges please contact: Gene Bridges GmbH Gary Stevens, CEO Pfotenhauerstr. 108 01307 Dresden Germany Phone: +49 351 210 1627 Fax: +49 351 210 1619 E-mail: gary.stevens@genebridges.com For further information about biosaxony please contact: biosaxony Dr Ann De Beuckelaer, Director Tatzberg 47-51 01307 Dresden Germany Phone: +49 351 796 51 02 Fax: +49 351 796 51 10 E-mail: debeuckelaer@biosaxony.com


CONTACT: Gary Stevens, CEO of Gene Bridges GmbH, +49-351-210-1627, orFax, +49-351-210-1619, or; or Dr Ann DeBeuckelaer, Director of biosaxony, +49-351-796-51-02, or Fax,+49-351-796-51-10, or

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