Morphotek issued patent covering the use of chemical inhibitors of mismatch repair

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Morphotek Inc. announced today the issuance of United States Patent 6,982,169 covering the use of chemical inhibitors to enhance evolution of target host cell genomes by reversibly regulating mismatch repair (MMR) in vivo.

The MMR pathway is a highly conserved process employed by all living organisms to repair mutations that naturally occur during DNA replication. The invention covers the methods used for rendering cells hypermutable by blocking MMR activity with chemical agents.

Dr. Nicholas Nicolaides, President and Chief Executive Officer of Morphotek, commented, "This patent further strengthens Morphotek's competitive advantage in the field of whole cell genome-based evolution. By introducing these inhibitors to cells and multicellular organisms, genetic variants with novel and useful properties can be generated more rapidly than those resulting from the inherent rate of evolution for a given organism."

"This is a dominant patent comprised of numerous claims covering chemical- based strategies for blocking MMR," added Dr. Philip M. Sass, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. "Utilizing a chemical bypasses the need for introducing foreign DNA into a host resulting in rapid inactivation of the MMR process and the generation of genetically diverse offspring. Once the desired output trait is obtained, the chemical is removed and the natural MMR process is restored. This technology enhances our ongoing efforts in the product discovery and development areas and will expedite the generation of a robust pipeline of novel, proprietary therapeutic proteins."

Morphotek has developed a vast patent estate comprised of more than 50 issued and filed patents worldwide. These patents cover the regulation of MMR in single celled organisms such as bacteria, yeast and mammalian cells as well as in more complex multicellular organisms such as rodents and plants. The Company employs this technology, called morphogenics, to discover and develop novel proteins and antibodies for diagnosing and treating cancer, inflammatory and infectious diseases.

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