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ReachBio Partners with Axiogenesis to Distribute Novel Cell-Based Products in North America
Date:2/27/2008

Agreement gives ReachBio exclusive North American distribution rights to pure cardiomyocytes and other novel ES cell-derived products for drug

discovery, toxicity testing, and R&D applications

SEATTLE, Feb. 27 /PRNewswire/ -- ReachBio LLC (Seattle, WA) announced today that it will distribute the full product line of Axiogenesis AG (Cologne, Germany) to the North American life science research and drug discovery market.

(Logo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20080226/REACHBIOLOGO)

Axiogenesis' products consist of highly pure and well-characterized tissue-specific cells derived from specially engineered mouse embryonic stem cell lines. Major applications for the cells include drug discovery, toxicity testing of new drug candidates and other compounds, and basic research. The first cell types available from Axiogenesis are 99.9% pure atrial cardiomyocytes in various formats, including frozen cryovials, pre-seeded 96-well plates, and pre-seeded coverslips. Branded as Cor.AT cells, these cardiomyocytes have been rigorously functionally qualified and found to be ideal for cardiotoxicity screening, electrophysiology studies, and as a cellular model system for hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. Pure ventricular cardiomyocytes (Cor.VE) are also available.

Commenting on the new relationship, Axiogenesis' CEO, Dr. Heribert Bohlen said, "We are very happy that ReachBio will be representing our products in North America. They share our philosophy that cellular model systems for drug discovery and toxicity testing should utilize highly relevant cells that are as close to the natural state as possible. The biopharma industry is trying to find ways to move away from the use of artificial cell lines that have questionable biological significance in the drug development process, and towards more biologically relevant cellular systems. ReachBio is at the forefront in providing pre-qualified, standardized primary cells, as well as highly predictive assay services utilizing normal human bone marrow stem cells and progenitors for drug discovery and toxicity testing applications. Furthermore, their founders have years of experience in the sales, marketing and technical support of functional cell-based assay products, making us very confident that they will be an excellent distribution partner for Axiogenesis".

Rob Chaney, ReachBio's Chief Operations Officer, said that the level and detail to which Axiogenesis has evaluated and characterized their cell-based products was impressive. "We have seen many claims of lineage-specific cells being derived from embryonic stem cell cultures in the past. However, it has usually turned out that such cells are either not very pure, not scalable, or not really functionally representative of their normal counterparts, and so not particularly useful for our clients' standardized screening applications. As we studied Axiogenesis' data, we became more and more impressed and excited about their products and technology. Their cells really do behave like normal cardiomyocytes in almost every way. They have put in an incredible effort to demonstrate the functional normalcy and real world applicability of the ES-derived cardiomyocytes. We decided that we definitely wanted to be associated with a company with this much scientific and technical strength".

Dr. Eric Atkinson, management consultant and strategic advisor to ReachBio, had this to say about the new distribution agreement: "The standardized and functionally normal cells that Axiogenesis reproducibly generates in large quantities from embryonic stem cells are very exciting new products for ReachBio. These different lineages of cells, starting with the Cor.AT and Cor.VE pure cardiomyocytes, are an excellent and synergistic fit with ReachBio's other products and services for drug discovery and toxicity testing, which to date have focused primarily on the bone marrow compartment. Many of today's new generation of drug compounds -- kinase inhibitors, for example -- can exhibit both cardiac toxicity and bone marrow toxicity such as myelosuppression or neutropenia. ReachBio can now offer products and services for testing the toxic effects of drug candidates on both of these organ systems, enabling them to serve even more of their clients' needs. As Axiogenesis launches additional lineage-specific cells generated from their technology, the synergies with ReachBio will only continue to increase".

About ReachBio LLC

ReachBio LLC is a boutique life sciences organization based in Seattle, WA. It provides specialized contract assays, contract research, educational and consulting services to biopharmaceutical, biotechnology, agrichemical, and related organizations worldwide. The company's focus is on the clinical, industrial and research uses of primary cell biology -- in particular the use of stem cell and progenitor cell assays and model systems for high value applications such as drug screening and drug discovery.

About Axiogenesis AG

Axiogenesis is an innovative biotechnology company that actively focuses on stem cell technology and molecular and cellular biology. The company's goal is to develop fast, cost-effective, and safe cell-based assays and techniques. These novel assays can be used to detect the efficacy and toxicity of new and existing drugs and chemicals on the developing embryo and differentiated functional tissue. Such inventive animal-free technologies have applications in the chemical, pharmaceutical, and cosmetic industries and provide considerable time and cost-savings in comparison to conventional in vivo systems.


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