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Optherion Licenses Worldwide Rights to Develop Age-Related Macular Degeneration Diagnostics Based on Chromosome 10 Genetic Variations
Date:10/23/2007

patients with AMD suffer from variations in the CFH gene, while 74% of the disease can be explained by variations in the CFH and CFB genes combined. Variations associated with specific gene loci on Chromosome 10 in combination with CFH are associated with about 79% of the disease.

Colin J. Foster, President and CEO of Optherion, said: "The licensing agreement with the University of Pittsburgh adds significantly to our portfolio. Optherion is now in position to develop diagnostic tests based upon the most recently discovered genetic associations of dry AMD.

"We are optimistic that the innovative discoveries we are licensing will lead to diagnostic tests that can help change the current paradigm of AMD risk assessment and patient care," Mr. Foster added.

The finding that genetic variations on Chromosome 10 are implicated in AMD was published in the American Journal of Human Genetics by scientists from the University of Pittsburgh under the direction of Dr. Michael B. Gorin, an ophthalmologist whose career has been dedicated to studying the molecular genetics of hereditary eye diseases ("Susceptibility Genes for Age-Related Maculopathy on Chromosome 10q26," Johanna Jakobsdottir, Yvette P. Conley, Daniel E. Weeks, Tammy S. Mah, Robert E. Ferrell, and Michael B. Gorin (Am. J. Hum. Genet. 77:389-407, 2005)). Dr. Gorin in September 2006 became Professor of Ophthalmology and Harold and Pauline Price Chair in Ophthalmology at the Jules Stein Eye Institute at UCLA in Los Angeles.

Publications by other researchers have substantiated and replicated the links of CFH, CFB and Chromosome 10 to AMD. Additional research published in 2007 found that people with homozygous risk profiles for CFH, CFB and LOC387715/HTRA1 have as great as a 250 times increased risk of developing AMD.

About Optherion:

Optherion, Inc. is an early-stage biotechnology company that is developing products to treat and diagnose dry and wet Age-related Macular Degeneration (A
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SOURCE Optherion, Inc.
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