SOURCE: Geneart AG

November 12, 2008 09:58 ET

GENEART Supports iGEM Winning Teams Again

REGENSBURG, GERMANY--(Marketwire - November 12, 2008) -

- GENEART is partner of the iGEM (International Genetically Engineered Machines) contest for the second year in a row

- The contest for applications in Synthetic Biology is one of its kind worldwide, and took place for the fifth time

- Over 84 student teams from around the world designed cells with useful properties with the help of genetic building blocks

- First prizes were awarded for genetic building blocks with potential for medical applications

The winning teams of this year's iGEM contest (iGEM: International Genetically Engineered Machines) banked on medical applications. The team from Slovenia was awarded one of the first prizes for the development of genetic buildings blocks (biobricks), which could be used as basis for a vaccine against the gastric bacterium Helicobacter pylori. The German team from Freiburg received another first prize for the development of a special fusion biobrick that may be employed for the treatment of cancer one day. An American team from California was honoured for the construction of bacteria, which could assist in producing vitamins and in fighting lactose intolerance in the future. The award ceremony took place on the campus of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Boston, USA, during the weekend.

The iGEM contest is unique world wide since its inauguration in 2004. Since then, numerous student teams spend their summers designing exchangeable, genetic building blocks and utilize them in living cells. The goal in doing so is to develop systems with interesting and useful applications, and at the same time to expand an already existing, publicly accessible library of standard genetic biobricks. As partner of the contest for the second year in a row, GENEART provided the DNA (DNA: Desoxyribonucleic acid) fragments necessary for the construction of the biobricks. Additionally, GENEART sponsored one of the first prizes with approximately 10,000 free base pairs.

As the global leader in gene synthesis, GENEART does not only produce genetic building blocks for the field of Synthetic Biology but is also engaged in numerous European projects, financed by government funds, in this promising market. "It is our goal to make genetic building blocks affordable for all researchers so that developments of Synthetic Biology will be further accelerated in the future. To achieve this we have successfully lifted gene synthesis from a costly lab process to a highly industrialized level over the past years. In doing so, we have almost doubled our capacities every year. The cost savings resulting from economies of scale and technological advancements are partially passed on to scientists to purposefully open the market and increase demand. And we will continue to pursue this strategy in the future", stated Prof. Dr. Ralf Wagner, CEO of GENEART AG.

Background information Synthetic Biology:

Similar to electrical engineering, it is the goal of Synthetic Biology to develop standardized DNA building blocks, also called biobricks, which are easy to integrate and facilitate the conversion of cells, i.e. bacteria into bioreactors. GENEART designs and supplies these DNA building blocks in the form of synthetic DNA fragments. These are de novo synthesized and are therefore different from naturally existing systems. This allows the innovative design and combination of biological systems. Thereby, DNA synthesis facilitates more freedom of design and accelerates advancements in biology since researchers do not unnecessarily lose significant amounts of time for the tedious modification of natural DNA. Bioreactors, which are designed with the help of Synthetic Biology, are intended to produce significantly more complex combinations as is possible with conventional methods of classic biotechnology. One of the major goals of Synthetic Biology is the construction of bioreactors which produce bio fuels from plant waste. British Petroleum and the U.S. Department of Energy currently invest more than USD 500M in this area.

Further information:
For further inquiries, please contact:

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

Frank Ostermair
Better Orange IR & HV AG
Haidelweg 48
81241 Munich
Phone: +49-(0)89-8896906-10
Fax: +49-(0)89-8896906-66

Legal Information

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 subsidiaries GENEART Inc. in Toronto (Canada) and GENEART Inc. in San Francisco (USA) employ more than 190 people. Since May 2006, GENEART is listed on the German Stock Exchange.

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