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Products containing specific probes for detecting alternative splice forms protected

ExonHit Therapeutics, today announced the grant of a major patent, US # 6,881,571, by the United States Patent and Trademark Office on microarray products allowing the specific detection of mRNAs produced by alternative splicing, covering microarrays optimised for the discovery of alternative RNA splicing events. The patent protects the probe configuration of a unique set of five oligonucleotides for the detection of each splice variant. There are many applications for this patent, including drug discovery, diagnostics, and compound screenings for efficacy or toxicity as well as screening patients for potential efficacy of therapeutics.

Alternative RNA Splicing is a critical step in the expression of most genes, which can result in the expression of several mRNAs encoding proteins with different functions from a single gene. Splicing events are implicated in numerous pathologies and can be altered by various stress events such as virus, toxic agents, and drug exposure.

The genome-wide patented probe configuration described in the patent is the basis for the microarrays in ExonHit's SpliceArray product line launched earlier this year. The genome profiling market is rapidly growing, and SpliceArrays are the only commercially available microarrays designed to detect alternative splicing. Current SpliceArray products include GPCR, Ion Channel, and Nuclear Receptor family SpliceArrays, as well as custom design services. An Apoptosis and Cytokine gene family array will be launched in the coming months. SpliceArrays are manufactured for ExonHit by Agilent Technologies.

The granting of this patent solidifies ExonHit's leadership in the field of expression profiling and positions the company as the only partner for the conception or use of gene profiling microarrays that include alternative RNA splicing. "The granting of these claims build on the company's core assets further expanding our IP position in the field of gene expression and profiling," sta ted Bruno Tocque, President and CEO, ExonHit Therapeutics. "This is a significant event for ExonHit as we have been quite successful in leveraging strategic assets in multiple arenas, including the therapeutic, diagnostic and research tool markets ?areas in which these claims will further increase our market share."



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