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This looks impressive, but as with most "company news" I assume it's a grain of salt until close examination proves otherwise. My first impression is that this news was proffered to support the stock's recent run-up...anyone have a different or supporting view?


Aurora Biosciences Announces Successful Genome-Wide Functional Analysis
Of Half a Billion GenomeScreen Cells in One Day

SAN DIEGO, Jan. 25 /PRNewswire/ -- Aurora Biosciences Corporation
(Nasdaq: ABSC) announced today that Aurora's functional genomics initiative
can successfully functionally analyze over half a billion discrete cells
derived from 20 million independent GenomeScreen(TM) clones in one day.
Aurora's GenomeScreen(TM) technology acts as a search engine to rapidly scan
the genome of living, human cells to find genes associated with specified
diseases or physiological processes. This enables Aurora to rapidly identify
commercially relevant genes, and to directly develop screens for drug
discovery, faster and more efficiently than existing methodologies. To date,
Aurora has filed for patent protection on over 100 previously unknown, novel
gene sequences and the corresponding cell clones, including their use for
compound screening, human diagnostics and drug discovery.
"GenomeScreen(TM) enables Aurora to aggressively map out functional
relationships between genes and to rapidly enhance our understanding of their
function to key metabolic or other disease states," said Kleanthis G.
Xanthopoulos, Ph.D., Aurora's vice president, genomics and molecular biology.
John D. Mendlein, Ph.D., J.D., Aurora's senior vice president,
intellectual property and chief knowledge officer added, "Because
GenomeScreen(TM) also provides gene sequences, the approach enables Aurora to
stake out significant intellectual property positions on key genes related to
disease or physiological processes."
Aurora's GenomeScreen(TM) technology includes the use of novel retroviral
gene trapping strategies to randomly tag genes in cells with a specific
fluorescence-based reporter gene that can be used to monitor expression of the
genes within that cell. The use of fluorescent-activated cell sorting (FACS)
enables the rapid functional analysis of randomly tagged genes, typically at
the rate of about one million cells per minute per FACS machine.
By combining direct optical selection of expressed tagged genes with
automated high-throughput sequencing and screening, GenomeScreen(TM) is
capable of rapidly characterizing and identifying gene tagged polynucleotides
that are believed to represent the entire repertoire of expressed genes in a
cell. The approach directly provides for gene and clone identification,
target validation, cell-based drug and genetic screening and selectivity
GenomeScreen(TM) analysis provides for three important advantages over
existing methods of expression profiling: 1) the ability to directly monitor
the regulation of the gene within its native cellular context in the intact
live cell; 2) the ability to selectively identify and characterize extremely
low copy transcripts; and 3) the ability to directly generate cell based
assays for the regulation of that gene.
Aurora combines innovative biotechnology with its novel, high technology,
automation and software to provide solutions to challenges in drug discovery
for the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries. The Company's core
technologies include a broad portfolio of proprietary fluorescence assay
technologies; its functional genomics GenomeScreen(TM) program; as well as its
ultra-high throughput screening system (UHTSS(TM) Platform) and subsystems to
miniaturize and automate assays derived from those technologies within a
computer-controlled integrated system, capable of searching through expansive
libraries of compounds to identify those that might lead to new medicines.
Aurora seeks to become a leader in providing services, technology and
information that enhance and accelerate its customers' ability to discover new
therapeutics through three main strategies: (1) providing customized drug
discovery services, allowing the customer to outsource some part or all of its
discovery needs, (2) developing and selling systems, instruments and
technologies to augment the customer's own discovery efforts, and (3)
licensing the Company's growing intellectual property portfolio. Current
customers include American Home Products, Becton Dickinson, Bristol-Myers
Squibb Company, Clontech Laboratories, Inc., Cystic Fibrosis Foundation,
Cytovia, Inc., Eli Lilly and Company, Exelixis Pharmaceuticals, F. Hoffmann-
LaRoche Ltd., Genentech, Inc., Glaxo Wellcome, Merck & Co., Inc., National
Cancer Institute, Pfizer, Inc., Pharmacia & Upjohn, Inc. and Warner-Lambert.
For additional information on Aurora's services and products, please contact
Sales and Marketing via email at or by phone at
(858) 404-8508.
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