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Roche Madison Moves to New Facility
Date:4/23/2009

- State-of-the-art facility designed to foster drug delivery -

MADISON, Wis. and NUTLEY, N.J., April 23 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, Roche Madison Inc. officially opened the doors to a new state-of-the-art facility with chemistry and biology labs at the University of Wisconsin Research Park in Madison. Part of the global RNA Therapeutics group within Roche, the group's research focuses on the discovery and development of innovative nucleic acid based technologies, including a proprietary RNAi (Ribonucleic Acid interference) delivery platform. RNAi - a natural mechanism that the body uses to 'silence' certain genes - represents a potential whole new class of therapeutics for difficult to treat diseases. The site currently has a 45-member staff and plans to hire additional staff during the next six to 12 months as part of its planned expansion.

In 2008, Roche purchased Mirus Bio Corporation, a leader in the fields of RNA interference and gene therapy, which became Roche Madison. "We are very pleased to be a vital part of the Roche RNA Therapeutics program and our new facilities will help ensure that we can continue to develop our technology in the most advantageous manner for targeted drug delivery," said Jim Hagstrom, vice president, Operations, Roche Madison. "As one of the few pharmaceutical sites in the state, we look forward to remaining a vital part of the Madison landscape and to finding innovative ways of getting RNAi therapeutics into specific disease targets to benefit patients."

"The presence of the new Roche research site within the University of Wisconsin Research Park represents a win/win situation for both Roche employees and for the Madison economy overall - and it further validates that the high quality research being performed by the Madison scientific community is being recognized by the world's leading pharmaceutical companies," he added.

"The scientific efforts in Madison are complementary to those at our other global RNA sites," said Lou Renzetti, Ph.D., global head, RNA Therapeutics at Roche. "Our colleagues in Madison have a lot to offer in terms of their expertise, which will significantly help our drug development efforts."

"These new lab facilities underscore both our commitment to the innovative talents of the team here at Roche Madison as well as to our pledge to explore and harness the potential of RNA-based therapeutics for complex diseases that are difficult to treat," said Lee Babiss, Ph.D., global head, Pharma Research at Roche.

About RNAi

RNAi (RNA interference) is a revolution in biology, representing a breakthrough in understanding how genes are turned on and off in cells. Its discovery was awarded the Nobel Prize in October 2006. By harnessing the natural biological process of RNAi occurring in our cells, the creation of a major new class of medicines, known as RNAi therapeutics, is on the horizon. RNAi therapeutics targets the cause of diseases by potently silencing specific messenger RNAs (mRNAs), thereby preventing disease-causing proteins from being made. RNAi therapeutics has the potential to treat disease and help patients in a fundamentally new way.

About Roche Madison

Roche Madison Inc. is a leader in the fields of RNA interference and gene therapy, based upon its expertise in non-viral nucleic acid chemistry and delivery. Effective and safe siRNA delivery represents the primary bottleneck to achieving therapeutic success using RNA interference. The company's Dynamic PolyConjugates(TM) (DPC) technology is being refined as an enabling nanotechnology platform for siRNA therapeutics, which makes it possible to target previously undruggable targets and has great potential for many diseases. DPCs represent a first in class polymer-based nanoparticle that allows for targeted delivery of siRNAs to various cell types in the body.

About Roche

Hoffmann-La Roche Inc. (Roche), based in Nutley, N.J., is the U.S. pharmaceuticals headquarters of the Roche Group, one of the world's leading research-oriented healthcare groups with core businesses in pharmaceuticals and diagnostics. For more than 100 years in the U.S., Roche has been committed to developing innovative products and services that address prevention, diagnosis and treatment of diseases, thus enhancing people's health and quality of life. An employer of choice, in 2008, Roche was named one of the Top 20 Employers (Science) and ranked the No. 1 Company to Sell For (Selling Power). In previous years, Roche has been named as Top Company of the Year by Med Ad News, a Top Company for Older Workers (AARP) and one of the Best Companies to Work For in America (Fortune). For additional information about the U.S. pharmaceuticals business, visit our website at http://www.rocheusa.com. Product and treatment information for U.S. healthcare professionals is available at www.RocheExchange.com.

All trademarks used or mentioned in this release are protected by law.


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