Oxford GlycoSciences receives US patent for its proprietary robotic drug discovery platform

Oxford 22 August 2001Oxford GlycoSciences Plc will benefit from the recent issuance of the United States Patent No. 6,278,794 entitled "Computer-Assisted Isolation and Characterization of Proteins". The claims of the '794 patent, 81 in total, relate to methods and apparatus for computer-assisted selection and robotic isolation of proteins following two-dimensional separation, and also cover the use of a laboratory information management system (LIMS) to track samples and results obtained from proteomic analysis. Oxford GlycoSciences (OGS) has developed a proprietary technology platform in the emerging field of proteomics, the comprehensive study of proteins, integrating proteomics with genomics to create an innovative drug discovery platform.

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Computer-assisted selection and robotic isolation of proteins are essential processes in high-throughput proteomics. The '794 patent provides more specific intellectual property protection for OGS' proteomics technology than the coverage offered by OGS' more general United States Patent No. 6,064,754, which was issued in May 2000. OGS has drug research discovery programmes in cancer, infectious disease, and glycosphingolipid storage disorders.

Commenting on the recent development, Michael Kranda, Chief Executive Officer of OGS stated: "This patent underscores the company's leading position in industrialised proteomics. In reaching the decision to issue this new patent, the US Patent and Trademark Office considered prior art methods for isolating proteins and determined that the OGS proprietary technology represents a substantial advance which deserves patent protection."

OGS' proteomics collaborations with major pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies include Bayer, Pioneer Hi-Bred/DuPont, Medarex, GlaxoSmithKline, and Pfizer. OGS has technology development collaborations with Applera, Cambridge Antibody Technology and Packard BioScience and the Institute for Systems Biology. "OGS will continue to add to its intellectual property portfolio through the generation of internal patents covering its proteomics platform technology and proteins identified through its high-throughput in-house research programme to complement its drug discovery and development activities", added Mr. Kranda.

OGS recently announced a joint venture, which has been named Confirmant, with Marconi. Confirmant will provide broadband managed hosting facilities to biotech companies and will market OGS' proteomics databases, notably the Protein Atlas of the Human Genome. OGS equally made public a high-throughput "targets to leads" collaboration with NeoGenesis in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

OGS' most advanced drug candidate, Vevesca (OGT 918), has undergone evaluation in a series of clinical trials for the treatment of Gaucher disease. Vevesca has received fast track designation from the United States Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) and has been granted orphan drug status by both the FDA and the European Commission for the treatment of Gaucher disease. In July 2001, OGS announced the acceptance of its Marketing Authorisation Application (MAA) for Vevesca for the oral treatment of Gaucher disease by the European Agency for the Evaluation of Medicinal Products (EMEA) and, in August 2001, the completion of the step-wise submission of its New Drug Application (NDA) for Vevesca to the FDA.


Leslie Versweyveld

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