SOURCE: Geneart AG

May 14, 2008 02:00 ET

QIAGEN and GENEART Partner to Commercialize Synthetic Mammalian Genes

REGENSBURG, GERMANY--(Marketwire - May 14, 2008) -


- Complete set of mammalian genes is optimized & produced by GENEART and sold via QIAGEN's GeneGlobe web portal

- Joint development and collaboration enables enhanced production of e.g. every human protein, spurring advances in drug development

- Strategic partnership with QIAGEN to market standardized mammalian genes perfectly complements GENEART's existing business to tailor gene sequences for individual customer requests

Regensburg, May 14, 2008 - GENEART (Frankfurt, Entry Standard, G6A) and QIAGEN (Nasdaq: QGEN; Frankfurt, Prime Standard: QIA) announced their collaboration to develop, produce and commercialize a new product line for the enhanced production of e.g. all so far identified 35,000 human proteins. QIAgenes is the world's first comprehensive set of plasmids (small extra-chromosomal DNA molecules in bacteria) which serve as carriers ("vectors") for modified ("optimized") synthetic genes provided by GENEART and mapping the entire human genome. By using the QIAgenes set of plasmids and optimized genes for synthetic protein production in bacteria, academic and biomedical researchers, as well as biotech and pharmaceutical companies can more easily produce large amounts of proteins which play key roles in diseases such as cancer and their treatment. This new product line enables researchers to facilitate the development of new therapeutics and vaccines and accelerates future drug screening processes.

QIAgenes will be available starting May 19, 2008, through QIAGEN's web portal GeneGlobe, which already hosts the world's largest database of gene regulation and gene expression assays. The addition of synthetic genes is a synergistic extension of this offering, as the use of synthetic genes often follows the use of such assays. As part of the collaboration, additional variants of the synthetic genes will be available in GeneGlobe, which are currently designed for E. coli bacteria only, are subject to future development.

The collaboration between QIAGEN and GENEART was initiated with a joint research and development project, for which GENEART provided plasmid and gene synthesis technologies and QIAGEN supplied automated sample technologies to purify the expressed proteins. In this first of a series of ongoing collaboration projects, scientists from both companies compared optimized and normal ("wild type") gene sequences of 100 different proteins from the five most common protein classes, thereby generating the most comprehensive validation study of its kind. The trial showed that GENEART's technology providing optimized synthetic genes and QIAGEN's purification methods achieved very high success rates of more than 90 % and yielded up to 50 times more protein than conventional methods using "normal" genes.

"In the past, researchers faced a multiple bottleneck situation when producing protein in sufficient quantity and quality for their research. This often slowed down research on a protein's structure and function or its pharmaceutical use", says Dr. Kai te Kaat, Global Business Director Protein for QIAGEN. "The first hurdle was to obtain an accurate high quality plasmid construct of any gene of choice, and second to produce the protein in sufficient amounts in bacteria. With the new QIAgenes product portfolio provided on QIAGEN's web portal geneglobe.com, our customers can now access the human proteome with a simple mouse click and significantly increase their successes expressing and purifying their protein of choice", Dr. te Kaat adds. "The collaboration with GENEART, the market leader for high quality gene optimization and gene synthesis will further advance protein analysis and adds significant new capabilities to and links between QIAGEN's assay and proteomics portfolios."

"It is a great pleasure for us to join forces with the world's premium provider for sample and assay technologies," says Professor Dr. Ralf Wagner, CEO of GENEART. "QIAGEN's leading technological and market capabilities in the DNA and RNA business, the global strength of its sales force as well as its logistic expertise make QIAGEN the best conceivable partner for commercialization of the next generation of expression plasmids encoding optimized mammalian genes. Synergizing with QIAGEN's GeneGlobe web-portal, this partnership opens up a new and highly attractive channel for distributing optimized standard genes. Thus this collaboration perfectly complements GENEART's key business to precisely tailor individual gene sequences and gene libraries for individual customer requests."

The market for synthetic DNA is currently estimated USD 80M-100M in revenues and to be growing by at least 30 % per year. It is not limited to medical applications, as the redesign of genes, gene variants and libraries also allows to identify and improve enzymes and biochemical pathways for industrial purposes in the whole field of life sciences.

For further inquiries, please contact:

Bernd Merkl
GENEART AG
Josef-Engert-Str. 11
93053 Regensburg
Germany
Phone: +49-(0)941-942 76-638
Fax: +49-(0)941-942 76-711
ir@geneart.com
www.geneart.com

Frank Ostermair
Better Orange IR & HV AG
Haidelweg 48
81241 Munich
Germany
Phone: +49-(0)89-8896906-10
Fax: +49-(0)89-8896906-66
info@better-orange.de
www.better-orange.de

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.


About Geneart:

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 190 people. Since May 2006, GENEART is listed on the German Stock Exchange.


About QIAGEN:

QIAGEN N.V., a Netherlands holding company, is the leading global provider of sample and assay technologies. Sample technologies are used to isolate and process DNA, RNA and proteins from biological samples such as blood or tissue. Assay technologies are used to make such isolated biomolecules visible. QIAGEN has developed and markets more than 500 consumable products as well as automated solutions for such consumables. The company provides its products to molecular diagnostics laboratories, academic researchers, pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, and applied testing customers for purposes such as forensics, animal or food testing and pharmaceutical process control. QIAGEN's assay technologies include one of the broadest panels of molecular diagnostic tests available worldwide. This panel includes the only FDA-approved test for human papillomavirus (HPV), the primary cause of cervical cancer. QIAGEN employs more than 2,600 people in over 30 locations worldwide. Further information about QIAGEN can be found at www.qiagen.com.





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