University of Pittsburgh Medical Center acquires biotechnology firm Rheogene Inc.

This unique strategic partnership between UPMC and RheoGene is a result of the collaborative efforts of Pennsylvania Gov. Edward Rendell; Dennis Yablonsky, commonwealth Secretary of the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) and former CEO of the Pittsburgh Life Sciences Greenhouse (PLSG); U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pennsylvania; the Pittsburgh Tissue Engineering Initiative (PTEI); and the University of Pittsburgh's McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine.

A DCED Opportunity Grant made it possible for UPMC to retain a number of key RheoGene employees during the acquisition transition and to retain high-tech jobs in Pennsylvania. The company plans to open a clinical laboratory in Pittsburgh during 2004 to facilitate collaborations with UPMC, the University of Pittsburgh and the western Pennsylvania life-sciences community.

"RheoGene's technology and expertise has real strategic value for UPMC and the University of Pittsburgh and their investment in regenerative medicine research," said Alan J. Russell, Ph.D., director of the McGowan Institute and PTEI. "Technologies such as RheoGene's will be fundamental to realizing significant advances in areas such as personalized medicine where treatments will be individually tailored to provide each patient with the safest and most effective therapeutic options."

"UPMC is an ideal partner to foster the continued development of RheoGene's platform technology," said RheoGene CEO Tillett. "We now are well positioned to build on this work in wide-ranging applications such as pharmaceutical discovery, biotherapeutic protein production and agriculture, as well as to partner with UPMC and University of Pittsburgh researchers to further the development of therapeutic agents for patients."

RheoGene technologies have shown effectiveness in vitro and scientists are beginning the preclinical testing phase. Clinical trials in patients are still several years in the fu

Contact: Michele Baum
University of Pittsburgh Medical Center

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