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Gene Bridges And Covalys To Develop Restriction-Enzyme-Free SNAP-tag Gene Fusion Kits

Gene Bridges and Covalys Biosciences AG today announced a collaboration to develop "Copy & Paste" DNA engineering kits to generate SNAP-tag fusion proteins based on Gene Bridges' Red/ET recombination technology. Gene Bridge's Red/ET cloning system does not require restriction enzymes and allows the engineering of large DNA sequences, such as BACs, (bacterial artificial chromosomes) with single-nucleotide precision. SNAP-tag is an intelligent self-labeling protein tag which covalently links chemical probes to proteins of interest without prior purification.

The combined products will allow scientists to easily add the SNAP-tag gene onto any cloned gene, at any position, so that the SNAP-tag can be used to study protein function and interaction. The cloning kits will be particularly useful for cloning with BACs (bacterial artificial chromosomes) and other large vectors for use in transgenic expression studies. Covalys already offers a broad range of kits for the subsequent labeling of SNAP-tag fusion proteins in live cells and in vitro with fluorescent or affinity probes. Kits to be introduced later this year by Covalys will allow for immobilization without prior purification, and purification of SNAP-tag fusion proteins.

"We are particularly happy about this collaboration," said Christoph Bieri, Covalys' CEO. "The new cloning kits will give scientists an easy avenue to fuse proteins encoded by large genes to SNAP-tag. It's an exciting new extension of the application of our technology, and we are convinced that the cloning kits will be enthusiastically welcomed by scientists working with BAC resources."

Prof. A. Francis Stewart, Chairman of Gene Bridges, said, "BACs are the new treasures of molecular biology. Most online genomes are annotated with readily available BACs, so that it is easy to identify and obtain a BAC encoding a gene of interest. The new SNAP-tag kits will combine the inherent advantages of BACs with the power of SNAP-tag f or protein expression studies."

The cloning kits, which will contain validated reference BAC, and substrate for functional testing of the SNAP-tag in the fusion protein, are expected to be on the market in Q3/2005. The cloning kits will be developed and distributed by Gene Bridges, and the labeling kits for SNAP-tag fusion proteins as well as SNAP-tag cDNA are available through Covalys and its distributors.

About Covalys Biosciences AG:
Covalys provides products that help researchers in academic institutions and pharmaceutical and biotech companies to improve the efficiency of research into proteins and their function. Its SNAP-tag technology is the first commercially available protein tag which covalently links itself to any chemical probe provided as a substrate. Covalys' technology is exclusively licensed from the Swiss federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL). Founded in June 2002, Covalys has headquarters in Witterswil, Switzerland. For more information, visit Covalys' Web site:

About Gene Bridges:
Gene Bridges GmbH is a self-funded biotech company, which develops and commercialises innovative DNA engineering technologies. Its patented Red/ET Recombination, also known as lambda mediated cloning, enables cloning and precise manipulation and modification of DNA molecules regardless of restriction sites and is particularly useful for the rapid generation of targeting vectors, modification of BACs and E. coli chromosomes, as well as viral engineering. Gene Bridges, an EMBL spin-off, is headquartered in Dresden, Germany and maintains a commercial centre is in Heidelberg. For more information, visit:



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