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Sigma® Life Science and King's College London Co-Developing miRNA Target Identification Technology

ST. LOUIS, Mo., May 5, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Sigma Life Science, the innovative biological products and services research business of Sigma-Aldrich® (Nasdaq:  SIAL), and King's College London, today announced an exclusive license to develop and commercialize new technology for the identification and validation of microRNA (miRNA) targets in research and clinical diagnostics. For more detailed information, visit

miRNAs function as critical regulators of gene expression in eukaryotic cells, with more than 1,000 different miRNAs in the human genome already known to play multiple roles in gene regulation. Although the specific targets of most miRNAs are largely unknown, aberrant expression of miRNAs has been implicated in numerous disease states, making them important targets for clinical research in oncology, wound healing and infectious disease.

Currently, identification of miRNA targets is laborious and inefficient, relying on computer algorithms and subsequent validation by in vitro assays. To overcome this research bottleneck, scientists in the Division of Cancer Studies at King's have developed a technology allowing simple, accurate identification and validation of miRNA targets. Dr. Joop Gaken, lead researcher of this project, explained, "The role of miRNAs in cancer is well established, and several miRNAs clearly function as either oncogenes or tumor suppressor genes, although the target genes are unknown in the majority of cases. This new test is expected to enable the straightforward identification of target genes that are strongly regulated by a given miRNA, helping to elucidate important gene regulation events in vivo."

"miRNA research is a rapidly growing field, and this test is expected to be an invaluable asset to commercial and academic researchers working with miRNAs," said Steven Suchyta, Market Segment Manager at Sigma-Aldrich. "We believe that the exclusive license agreement will allow Sigma Life Science and King's College London to work closely together to ensure rapid development of this technology for the benefit of the research community, and underlines our commitment to accelerating scientific discovery through innovative technology."

Cautionary statement: The foregoing release contains forward-looking statements that can be identified by terminology such as "ensures," "is responding to," "is expected to," "will allow," or similar expressions, or by expressed or implied discussions regarding potential future revenues from products derived therefrom. You should not place undue reliance on these statements. Such forward-looking statements reflect the current views of management regarding future events, and involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause actual results to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such statements. There can be no guarantee that the miRNA Target Identification Library will continue to meet the demands of the marketplace. Nor can there be any guarantee that any of the products from the miRNA Target Identification Library will achieve any particular levels of revenue in the future. In particular, management's expectations regarding the miRNA Target Identification Library could be affected by, among other things, unexpected regulatory actions or delays or government regulation generally; the Company's ability to obtain or maintain patent or other proprietary intellectual property protection; competition in general; government, industry and general public pricing pressures; the impact that the foregoing factors could have on the values attributed to the Company's assets and liabilities as recorded in its consolidated balance sheet, and other risks and factors referred to in Sigma-Aldrich's current Form 10-K on file with the US Securities and Exchange Commission. Should one or more of these risks or uncertainties materialize, or should underlying assumptions prove incorrect, actual results may vary materially from those anticipated, believed, estimated or expected. Sigma-Aldrich is providing the information in this press release as of this date and does not undertake any obligation to update any forward-looking statements contained in this press release as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

About Sigma Life Science: Sigma Life Science is a Sigma-Aldrich business that represents the Company's leadership in innovative biological products and services for the global life science market and offers an array of biologically-rich products and reagents that researchers use in scientific investigation. Product areas include biomolecules, genomics and functional genomics, cells and cell-based assays, transgenics, protein assays, stem cell research, epigenetics and custom services/oligonucleotides. Sigma Life Science also provides an extensive range critical bioessentials like biochemicals, antibiotics, buffers, carbohydrates, enzymes, forensic tools, hematology and histology, nucleotides, amino acids and their derivatives, and cell culture media.

About Sigma-Aldrich: Sigma-Aldrich is a leading Life Science and High Technology company committed to Enabling Science to Improve the Quality of Life. Its chemical and biochemical products and kits are used in scientific research, including genomic and proteomic research, biotechnology, pharmaceutical development and as key components in pharmaceutical, diagnostic and other high technology manufacturing. The Company has customers in life science companies, university and government institutions, hospitals, and in industry. Over one million scientists and technologists use its products. Sigma-Aldrich operates in 40 countries and has 8,000 employees providing excellent service worldwide. For more information about Sigma-Aldrich, please visit its award-winning Web site at

Sigma-Aldrich and Sigma are registered trademarks of Sigma-Aldrich and its affiliate Sigma-Aldrich Biotechnology, L.P.

About King's College London: King's College London is one of the top 25 universities in the world (2010 QS international world rankings), The Sunday Times 'University of the Year 2010/11' and the fourth oldest in England. A research-led university based in the heart of London, it has nearly 23,500 students (of whom nearly 9,000 are graduate students) from 140 countries and approximately 6,000 employees. The College is in the top seven UK universities for research earnings and has an overall annual income of nearly 450 million pounds Sterling. For more information about King's College London, please visit

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