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Rib-X Granted Key Antibiotic Drug Discovery Patents

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Rib-X Pharmaceuticals, Inc. has announced the issuance of four U.S. patents (U.S. patent number 6,952,650, 6,947,845, 6,947,844, and 6,939,848).

Rib-X was founded to use high resolution crystal structures of the 50S ribosomal subunit and structure-based drug design approaches to efficiently design antibiotics that are active against drug- resistant bacteria.

This growing patent estate reinforces the Company's significance to the important area of antibiotic drug development.

The new patents describe Rib-X's proprietary position on crystal structures of the 50S subunit of the ribosome and the complexes it forms with known antibiotics, which define functional sub-spaces of the ribosome ripe for drug discovery.

These patents are based on the research of two Rib-X founders, Yale professors Peter Moore, Ph.D. and Thomas Steitz, Ph.D., (also a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator) as well as the work of Rib-X scientists.

Rib-X is the exclusive worldwide commercial licensee of the Yale patents. To complete its access to ribosome high resolution structural information, Rib-X has also exclusively licensed the structure of the small subunit of the ribosome, the 30S, from the Medical Research Council, London, and the structure of the entire ribosome, the 70S, from the University of California.

Rib-X also announced a ribosome crystal structure - the first high resolution X-ray crystal structure of the 50S ribosomal subunit of a Gram-positive bacterium.

This structure will enable Rib-X scientists to design antibiotics based on atomic resolution knowledge of how known antibiotics and Rib-X proprietary compounds interact with this and other pathogenic bacteria.

“The issuance of these patents and our ability to complete a high resolution ribosomal structure from Gram-positive bacteria are two significant achievements that attest to the strength of Rib-X's approach to creating novel and potent antibiotics that overcome resistant bacteria,” said Susan Froshauer, Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer of Rib-X.

“These patents, which further consolidate our proprietary position on the use of the 50S ribosome structure, will enhance the commercial opportunities for the company.”

The in-depth knowledge of the 50S structure provides Rib-X scientists understanding of exactly how these important classes of antibiotics bind to the ribosome and why they block its function.

Rib-X is using these insights to design molecules that will overcome the resistance of pathogenic bacteria to existing classes of antibiotics, which is a serious threat to public health.

“We doctors have waited a long time for a new approach to antibiotic development,” said Rib-X Chief Clinical Officer, Scott Hopkins, M.D.

“Our ribosome technology has already enabled Rib-X to build a pipeline of compounds of distinct structural classes for both hospital- and community-based infections.”

“This new crystal structure puts us in a unique position to target multi-drug-resistant Gram-positive bacteria like MRSA, VRE and PRSP that cause life-threatening infections.”

“The use of the new structure will enhance our accuracy in designing new antibiotics, putting us in an even stronger position to rapidly produce drugs with increased efficacy against infections caused by drug-resistant bacteria.”