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Orion Genomics Announces Notice of Allowance for U.S. Patent

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Orion Genomics has received a Notice of Allowance from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for a key patent application that covers Orion's MethylScope technology, a broad approach to discovering and quantifying the DNA methylation status on each and every gene in the human genome.

The patent, authored by Orion co- founder, Rob Martienssen from Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL), Eric Richards from Washington University, Zachary Lippmann from CSHL, and Vincent Colot from Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, is expected to be issued in early 2007.

"DNA methylation, an important component of gene regulation, has been strongly linked to cancer in hundreds of publications. However, the hunt for DNA methylation based biomarkers has been limited in the past to one gene at a time approaches," said Nathan Lakey, CEO and president of Orion Genomics.

 "With MethylScope technology, Orion is able to conduct unprecedented genome wide DNA methylation profiling for the discovery of important cancer biomarkers using a fast and cost-effective microarray format. We have successfully used this technology to identify a suite of novel and promising biomarkers for the early detection of breast cancer, our lead product."

Orion's MethylScope technology, exclusively licensed from CSHL, is the only platform capable of detecting inappropriate DNA methylation for all human genes on a single array, providing an efficient and comprehensive biomarker discovery tool. By comparing methylation profiles, Orion discovers new biomarkers associated with specific diseases.

"With MethylScope technology, Orion is able to quantitatively compare DNA methylation patterns between normal and diseased tissue, identify critical genes and assess the diagnostic capabilities of these genes in an array format," said Jorge A Leon, Ph.D., Orion's acting Chief Scientific Officer.

"Leveraging this information, we are able to develop highly sensitive and specific diagnostic assays using blood serum and other easily collected patient samples."