|>>RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C., June 28 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Paradigm Genetics, Inc. (Nasdaq: PDGM - News), a biotechnology company, announced today that the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) has agreed to expand its current research relationship with Paradigm Genetics to now include a study of four to six additional known liver toxicants and the integrated analysis of gene expression, metabolic profiles and quantitative tissue feature data. Results from the broadened study will generate a preliminary data set for a research version of the Chemical Effects in Biological Systems (CEBS) Database at NIEHS' National Center for Toxicogenomics (NCT). CEBS will be a publicly accessible toxicology reference database that will contain information on the biological effects of chemicals and other agents and their mechanisms of action. The new agreement builds on the current collaboration between Paradigm Genetics and NIEHS on acetaminophen toxicity.|
The additional gene expression analysis for this larger group of liver toxicants will be performed by Paradigm Genetics under the Company's existing contract with NIEHS and is expected to accelerate the timing of revenue generation under this contract. The expansion of the research relationship allows additional toxicants to be tested, as well as the generation of metabolic profiles and quantitative tissue feature data, which can then be analyzed in conjunction with gene expression data. Accordingly, under the expanded agreement, Paradigm Genetics and NCT will be applying a systems biology approach to the study of toxicity by evaluating liver samples provided through studies funded by NCT.
"The NCT continues to work towards fulfilling its mission of coordinating a nationwide research effort for the development of a toxicogenomics knowledge base," said Raymond W. Tennant, Ph.D., Director, National Center for Toxicogenomics. "Paradigm Genetics' ability to integrate gene expression with metabolic changes in biological pathways, and the automated quantitation of tissue injury will help us fulfill this mission."
"We are pleased that the NIEHS and NCT continue to look to us for the best possible biological information on mechanisms of toxicity," said Heiri Gugger, Ph.D., President and CEO of Paradigm Genetics. "This expanded research relationship -- which involves the concurrent analysis of multiple types of biological data -- underlines Paradigm's leadership role in systems biology as applied to such relevant fields as toxicity and liver disease."
In 2002, Paradigm was awarded a five-year toxicogenomics contract of up to $23.8 million by the NIEHS. The contract was focused on determining how toxicants work and cause damage at the cellular level. In 2003, the NIEHS exercised an option providing for additional funding of $8.4 million for toxicogenomics studies. Portions of this newly broadened research effort will be funded from the contract option that was exercised in 2003.
Paradigm Genetics is focused on the discovery and development of diagnostics for liver injury and chronic liver disease. Its research activities include a clinical collaboration with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-CH) to identify biomarkers associated with liver damage secondary to dietary choline deficiency. The Company is also working with UNC-CH to determine the mechanisms by which acetaminophen causes liver toxicity in humans.<<