|>>RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C., May 6 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Paradigm Genetics, Inc. (Nasdaq: PDGM - News), a biotechnology company, announced today that its current contract with the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), National Institutes of Health, has been expanded to include additional work using small interfering ribonucleic acid (siRNA) technology as a part of the toxicogenomics research Paradigm Genetics is performing for the NIEHS. Paradigm Genetics is in the process of subcontracting with the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen), a non-profit biomedical research institute, to build a siRNA "library" for use in better understanding genes that appear to be involved in human response to environmental toxins. The Company noted that the NIEHS contract modification, which is expected to accelerate the timing of revenue generation under the contract option, is another step toward successfully reaching its 2004 revenue target.|
"This contract amendment reflects the close and productive relationship between Paradigm Genetics and the NIEHS, as the National Center for Toxicogenomics works to build the Chemical Effects in Biological Systems (CEBS) database," said Thomas J. Colatsky, Ph.D., Vice President of Healthcare Research at Paradigm Genetics. "siRNA is a new and extremely powerful tool that can help characterize gene function. Using siRNA, genes suspected of playing a role in producing tissue injury can be knocked-out, thereby validating their involvement in toxic responses and gaining a richer understanding of toxicity mechanisms. We look forward to working with Dr. Jeff Trent, President of TGen, and Dr. Spyro Mousses, who heads up TGen's scientific team, to build this comprehensive, centralized siRNA resource for the NIEHS."
In 2000, the NIEHS initiated the National Center for Toxicogenomics (NCT), which seeks to better understand human responses to environmental exposures through the identification and characterization of the genes most critically associated with chemical-induced toxicity using gene expression technology. The NCT is currently conducting studies to determine the identity, expression and function of these "Tox Genes" and to evaluate their value in environmental safety assessment. siRNA provides a means of rapidly determining gene function and determining whether specific genes are, in fact, responsible for generating a toxic response.
Paradigm Genetics and the NIEHS began a toxicogenomics collaboration in September 2002. The five-year, $23.8 million contract is focused on how toxicants work and cause liver damage at the cellular level. The research may result in better methods of risk assessment and compound optimization for both the pharmaceutical and agrichemical industries. In April 2003, the NIEHS exercised an option in the existing contract, providing an additional $8.4 million for toxicogenomics studies. Data generated from this toxicogenomics research will be included in the NTP's program to better understand the effects of short and long-term exposure to chemicals. The data will become part of the Chemical Effects in Biological Systems (CEBS) database, a publicly accessible relational database that will contain information on the biological effects of short and long term exposures to chemicals.
TGen's mission is to make and translate genomic discoveries into advances in human health. "Translational genomics research" is a relatively new field employing innovative advances arising from the Human Genome Project to apply to the development of diagnostics, prognostics and therapies in cancer, neurological disorders, diabetes and other complex diseases. For more information, visit www.tgen.org .<<