The US National Cancer Institute Extends its Contract with GENEART
News Apr 25, 2008
GENEART AG has announced the continuation of the collaboration with the US National Cancer Institute, which is part of the NIH. The contract was awarded and extended by SAIC Frederick, Inc. on behalf of the NCI. Within the scope of the ongoing contract, GENEART has already produced more than 3,500 genes with an order volume of about USD 3.5M.
The follow-up order comprises a volume of USD 1.9M for the synthesis of another 200 highly complex genes. With the genes synthesized by GENEART, the NCI complements the NIH "Mammalian Gene Collection (MGC) Program". This comprehensive collection of human and mouse genes represents a significant resource for basic research as well as for clinical research and development.
The 3,500 genes so far synthesized by GENEART include a large number of highly complex sequences, which could not be isolated with classical methods of biotechnology in the course of the MGC project between 2002 and 2006. A major fraction of genes in this group showed a high number of repetitive DNA sequence elements, or were toxic for the production host E. coli. To efficiently synthesize this large number of genes in a high-throughput manner, GENEART had to further advance its existing technologies and establish new production techniques.
Professor Dr. Ralf Wagner, CSO of the GENEART AG, adds: "The advancements in technology have elevated our gene synthesis platform to a new level, and further strengthen our leadership role in this market. We therefore expect to profit far more than average from the increasing demand for complex genes, gene clusters and entire genomes in pharmaceutical research and in the synthetic biology field."
Christian Ehl, CFO of the GENEART AG, elaborates: "This order has been the greatest challenge in our company history so far, and we have mastered it with great success. Our performance demonstrates the capability of our team, and it proves the power of the GENEART Technology Platform. We are especially delighted about the extended collaboration with NCI because it confirms our ability to perform. Additionally, the NCI/NIH project provides us with a singular reference in the field. This will certainly help us to acquire more major projects in the global market."
As genome editing technologies advance toward clinical therapies, they are raising hopes of a completely new way to treat disease. However, challenges need to be addressed before potential treatments can be widely used in patients. To tackle these challenges, the National Institutes of Health has launched the Somatic Cell Genome Editing program, which has awarded multiple grants including more than $3.6 million to assess the safety of genome editing in human cells and tissues.