SOURCE: Geneart AG

November 08, 2007 05:00 ET

GENEART Sponsors Winning iGEM Teams

REGENSBURG, GERMANY--(Marketwire - November 8, 2007) -

- GENEART is the main sponsor  of the iGEM competition staged by  the
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
- For the fourth  year running, the  unique global competition  calls
for exceptional contributions in synthetic biology
- More  than  50 international  student  teams construct  cells  with
beneficial attributes by means of genetic building blocks
- The synthetic  biology may  initiate a  new era  in the  industrial

Regensburg, November 08, 2007 - Bacteria patrol the human body and kill cancer cells on site whenever the need arises. A futuristic vision today, this may yet become reality tomorrow. At any rate, students from the Peking University have created a foundation for this vision with the work they submitted to the iGEM competition (iGEM stands for 'International Genetically Engineered Machine Competition'). The team has engineered switches to turn individual bacterial functions on or off as needed for specific purposes. Such switches may for example be triggered by specific proteins at the outside surface of cancer cells and thus activate a special bacterial program starting the destruction of a diseased cell. The switches, which have earned the students the main prize, are mature systems for future use in all complex applications in synthetic biology.

In the synthetic biology field, the iGEM competition stands as a singular event worldwide. The event is organized by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) with GENEART as a main sponsor. Student teams from all corners of the world have spent their summers designing interchangeable DNA building blocks and integrate them into living cells. Their goal was to develop interesting and advantageous applications. The students were able to rely on a library of standard DNA building blocks, which had been accumulated by the MIT staff in a 'registry of parts'. However, the students were also given the choice of designing DNA building blocks themselves and have them produced by GENEART. The novel building blocks complement the existing library and are now also available to the participants of the next competition. As the main sponsor, GENEART did not only provide the participants with gene sequences, but also awarded the prize for the most innovative standard DNA building block - the 'Best Foundational Technology' prize - for the construction of a regulator element to the team of the University of Science and Technology China.

Many experts believe that synthetic biology is now breaking the ground for a new industrial revolution, owing to its potential as an originative specialty between biology, physics and engineering. The objective is to develop microorganisms with desired properties, such as the ability to detect minute amounts of pollutants and degrade them efficiently and safely, to produce drugs or serve as hydrogen and alternative energy producers.

The synthetic biology offers an extremely wide range of implementations. They all have in common the need for DNA sequences to get past the drawing board. GENEART designs and provides these DNA sequences and DNA switches in the form of synthetic genes. Synthetic genes are new creations, and they are therefore independent of systems found in nature. This makes it possible to conceive and combine completely new biological system designs. The production of synthetic genes brings new freedom to designing genes and so stimulates progress in biology. Researchers no longer need to spend a lot of time elaborately modifying natural DNA.

"GENEART, however, is much more than the provider of such DNA sequences and the worldwide leading provider of synthetic genes for the synthetic biology. On the European level, GENEART is also very active in the frontlines of this future-oriented market. GENEART is part of the European communications and working platform EMERGENCE. This project was brought to life by the European Community. The platform is meant to bolster the potential of the synthetic biology and develop the field into a sustainable life sciences industry. In addition, GENEART invests directly in research projects in the field of synthetic biology. "For instance, GENEART experts and their partners developed functional gene clusters (called operons) for the synthesis of new pharmaceutically active sugar molecules which cannot be produced with classical methods within the scope of a project funded by the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research", points out Professor Dr. Ralf Wagner, CEO of GENEART AG.

For further inquiries, please contact:

Bernd Merkl
Josef-Engert-Str. 11
D-93053 Regensburg
Phone: +49-(0)941-942 76 - 638
Fax: +49-(0)941-942 76 - 711

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This document may contain estimates, prognoses and opinions about company plans and objectives, products or services, future results, opinions about these results or opinions leading up to these results. All these projections into the future are subject to risk, uncertainty and unforeseeable change outside the control of the GENEART Group. Many factors may lead to actual results, which considerably deviate from the given projections for these results.


In 2000, GENEART entered the gene synthesis market and has since become the global market leader. Today, the company is one of the leading specialists in the synthetic biology field. Experts at GENEART provide key technologies for the development and production of new therapeutics and vaccines. Customers also take advantage of GENEART services to customize enzyme attributes, such as the attributes of enzymes used as detergent additives, and to construct bacteria, which produce complex biopolymers or break down polymers, such as synthetics, petroleum components, etc. Our production and service spectrum spans a wide range, from the production of synthetic genes according to DIN EN ISO 9001-2000, to the creation of gene libraries in the combinatorial biology, to the development and production of DNA-based biologically active substances. The GENEART AG in Regensburg (Germany) and the subsidiary GENEART Inc. in Toronto (Canada) employ more than 140 people. Since May 2006, GENEART is listed on the German Stock Exchange.

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