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Sangamo BioSciences Announces Publication in Nature of the Use of Zinc Finger Nucleases to Accelerate Precision Trait Stacking in Commercial Crop Species
Date:4/29/2009

RICHMOND, Calif., April 29 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Sangamo BioSciences, Inc. (Nasdaq: SGMO) announced today continued success of its zinc finger DNA-binding protein (ZFP) technology. New research published in the scientific journal Nature by licensing partner Dow AgroSciences and Sangamo demonstrated the successful application of ZFP technology for the efficient generation of maize plants with multiple, commercially important traits. The techniques described are broadly applicable across plant species and traits and establish a new method for rapid and precise crop development.

In the study published in the Advance Online edition of Nature, scientists at Dow AgroSciences and Sangamo used ZFP Nucleases (ZFNs(TM)) to introduce a herbicide tolerance gene into a pre-determined address in the maize genome, simultaneously eliminating the expression of an enzyme involved in the production of phytate, a natural but undesirable compound found in feed crops and a cause of environmental pollution. In a rapid, single step process the gene involved in phytate production was disabled and permanently linked with the acquisition of herbicide tolerance - i.e. stacking the two desired characteristics in the plant and generating reduced phytate, herbicide tolerant corn.

"These data reinforce that EXZACT(TM) Precision Technology has the potential to redefine the future of agriculture driving productivity gains globally and greatly enhancing sustainability in major food crops such as maize," said Jerome Peribere, president and CEO of Dow AgroSciences. "This technology provides flexibility and versatility in plant biotechnology research enabling developers, such as Dow AgroSciences and our collaborators, to enhance the discovery and development of novel traits for the crop production industry."

"The future of crop improvement lies in the ability to identify and efficiently stack multiple, commercially valuable traits at predetermined sites in the plant genome with absolute precision. With this technology, we are taking the process of genome modification and trait development to a new level of sophistication," said Vipula Shukla, project leader at Dow AgroSciences. "We have demonstrated that EXZACT Precision Technology enables us to rapidly develop new trait combinations in economically important crops, including commodity crops, vegetables, ornamentals, trees and biomass crops. The speed and precision of this approach, which will replace the random and laborious approaches currently employed, can result in significant reduction in the time and effort required to commercialize enhanced crops."

"These data are a powerful demonstration of the broad applicability of our ZFP technology platform," stated Philip Gregory, D. Phil., Sangamo's vice president of research. "Furthermore this is not simply a demonstration of 'cool science' in a model system but a real-life application of the technology to provide a commercially relevant solution to a problem. Our ZFN gene editing technology is being used to precisely and specifically disrupt, correct or add genes to create novel cell lines and whole organisms - both plant and animal. Today, ZFPs are being used to generate improved crops, powerful research reagents and novel drugs for the treatment of intractable human diseases."

In June 2008 Dow AgroSciences exercised its option to become the exclusive licensee and sublicensor of Sangamo's proprietary ZFP technology for the development of products in plants and plant cell cultures following a successful research collaboration that began in October 2005.

"It has been very rewarding to witness the rapid translation of our technology into commercially relevant crop products," said Edward Lanphier, Sangamo's president and chief executive officer. "The Dow AgroSciences team has done an outstanding job of exploiting the powerful science of our ZFP platform."

About Sangamo

Sangamo BioSciences, Inc. is focused on the research and development of novel DNA-binding proteins for therapeutic gene regulation and modification. The most advanced ZFP Therapeutic(TM) development program is currently in Phase 2 clinical trials for evaluation of safety and clinical effect in patients with diabetic neuropathy and ALS. Sangamo also has a Phase 1 clinical trial to evaluate safety and clinical effect of a ZFP Therapeutic for the treatment of HIV/AIDS. Other therapeutic development programs are focused on cancer, neuropathic pain, nerve regeneration, Parkinson's disease and monogenic diseases. Sangamo's core competencies enable the engineering of a class of DNA-binding proteins known as zinc finger DNA-binding proteins (ZFPs). By engineering ZFPs that recognize a specific DNA sequence Sangamo has created ZFP transcription factors (ZFP TF(TM)) that can control gene expression and, consequently, cell function. Sangamo is also developing sequence-specific ZFP Nucleases (ZFN(TM)) for gene modification. Sangamo has established strategic partnerships with companies in non-therapeutic applications of its technology including Dow AgroSciences, Sigma-Aldrich Corporation and several companies applying its ZFP technology to engineer cell lines for the production of protein pharmaceuticals. For more information about Sangamo, visit the company's web site at www.sangamo.com.

This press release may contain forward-looking statements based on Sangamo's current expectations. These forward-looking statements include, without limitation, references to the research and development of novel ZFP TFs and ZFNs, human, plant and research applications of Sangamo's ZFP technology platform, strategic partnerships with collaborators and clinical trials of ZFP Therapeutics. Actual results may differ materially from these forward-looking statements due to a number of factors, including technological challenges, Sangamo's ability to develop commercially viable products and technological developments by our competitors. See the company's SEC filings, and in particular, the risk factors described in the company's Annual Report on Form 10-K and its most recent report on Form 10-Q. Sangamo BioSciences, Inc. assumes no obligation to update the forward-looking information contained in this press release.

EXZACT(TM) Precision Technology is a trademark of Dow AgroSciences LLC.

ZFP Therapeutic(TM), ZFP TF(TM) and ZFN(TM) are trademarks of Sangamo BioSciences, Inc.


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SOURCE Sangamo BioSciences, Inc.
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