Vertex Pharmaceuticals/Yale Research Team Uses Gene Knockout Mice To Establish Role Of Caspase-9 In Neuronal Cell Death Pathway

-9 function through a gene-knockout experiment, and illustrates how Vertex approaches functional genomics as part of an integrated discovery platform," said Dr. Joshua Boger, Chairman, President, and CEO of Vertex. "This research clarifying the relationship between caspases and their activity in body tissues greatly increases our understanding of which caspases are appropriate targets for drug discovery."

Vertex Pharmaceuticals has an established track record of scientific innovation and is a leader in caspase research. Previously, Vertex and Yale/HHMI researchers were the first to describe the biochemical and physiological effects of the ICE (Caspase-1) enzyme through a gene knockout mouse experiment, and Vertex researchers were the first to elucidate the 3-dimensional atomic structure of ICE. Additionally, Dr. Keisuke Kuida, together with colleagues Dr. Richard Flavell and Dr. Pasko Rakic, reported the first Caspase-3 (CPP32) gene knockout mouse, and Vertex researchers have solved the structure of the Caspase-3 enzyme. Vertex and partner Hoechst Marion Roussel plan to begin Phase I clinical trials of VX-740, an inhibitor of ICE targeting inflammatory diseases, later in 1998. Vertex has a research program directed at developing novel, orally administered inhibitors of different targets in the caspase family with potential in the treatment of stroke, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases, myocardial ischemia and other indications.

The contributors to the Cell paper include Dr. Richard Flavell, a Howard Hughes Investigator, and Drs. Pasko Rakic, Tarik Haydar, and Chia-Yi Kuan, all of the Yale University School of Medicine; Drs. Choji Taya and Hajime Karasuyama, both of the Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Medical Science; and Drs. Keisuke Kuida, Yong Gu and Michael Su, all of Vertex.

Vertex Pharmaceuticals Incorporated (Nasdaq:VRTX) is engaged in the discovery, development and commercialization of novel, small molecule pharmaceuticals for the treatme

Contact: Michael Partridge
(617) 577-6108
Vertex Pharmaceuticals

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