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University of Pittsburgh Medical Center acquires biotechnology firm Rheogene Inc.

PITTSBURGH, Feb. 17 The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) has acquired important gene regulation technology, thanks to a donation from specialty chemical company Rohm and Haas Co. The donation is the first of its kind for UPMC and includes intellectual property, equipment, compounds, biological materials, research and commercial agreements and licenses that have been consolidated into RheoGene Inc., a company based in suburban Philadelphia. The company formerly operated as RHeoGene LLC. Key business and technical personnel remain with the company at its Norristown, Pa. location.

RheoGene Inc. has developed technology to manage gene expression a key component of gene-based therapies. The suburban Philadelphia-based company's gene regulation systems deliver precise control to develop new medical applications including cellular and gene therapies, genomics and enhanced protein expression. RheoGene's proprietary system uses a patented small-molecule mediator that can turn genes "on" or "off" as well as adjust the level of gene activity. In addition, the company is developing other pharmaceutical discovery agents used in research.

"The acquisition of the RheoGene technology furthers UPMC's commitment to be a guiding force in basic science research to improve health care and foster the growth of the biotechnology economy in the region," said Jeffrey Romoff, president of UPMC. "While it should represent a steadily increasing value to UPMC, we recognize that the real significance of this donation is the future benefit of its innovative clinical technologies to the people who matter most the patients."

"We are excited to have UPMC as a strategic investor in RheoGene," said Tom Tillett, chief executive officer of RheoGene Inc. "This relationship will allow us to build upon the substantial investment Rohm and Haas has made in RheoGene's core technology that has allowed us to create a broad and deep intellectual property portfolio."
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Contact: Michele Baum
baummd@upmc.edu
412-647-3555
University of Pittsburgh Medical Center
17-Feb-2004


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