Thursday, Apr 4, 1996
South San Francisco, Calif. -- April 4, 1996 --Genentech, Inc. (NYSE: GNE) today announced that it has exclusively licensed worldwide rights from Washington University for human neurturin, a homologue of GDNF (glial cell-line derived neurotrophic factor).
Eugene M. Johnson, Ph.D. and Jeffrey D. Milbrandt, M.D., Ph.D., researchers at Washington University Medical School in St. Louis, Missouri, discovered neurturin, a novel neurotrophic factor that promotes nerve cell growth and protects certain nerve cells against damage. It is anticipated that this factor might be useful in the treatment of neurodegenerative disorders, such as Parkinson's disease and Lou Gehrig's disease.
"We are very excited to be working with Drs. Johnson and Milbrandt on this unique molecule," said Dennis Henner, Ph.D., Genentech vice president, Research Technology. "Neurturin has already shown interesting properties in our assays as compared to GDNF. It is likely that neurturin will have some overlapping activities with GDNF and perhaps some unique ones. The research is at an early stage, but we have begun the preclinical work necessary before moving forward to clinical studies."
"By joining forces with Genentech, we will be able to expand our studies concerning the function of neurturin," said Dr. Milbrandt. "Through this partnership, we hope to expedite the transfer of our basic research discovery into clinically useful products. This would be gratifying because it has the potential to benefit many people who are now suffering from neurodegenerative diseases."
Washington University has filed patent applications for neurturin and related subject matter.
Genentech, Inc. is a leading biotechnology company that discovers, develops, manufactures and markets human pharmaceuticals for significant unmet medical needs. Neuroscience is one of Genentech's major medical areas of focus. There is a strong and dedicated neuroscience research program as well as a clinical program that includes NGF, or nerve growth factor, currently in Phase II clinical trials for peripheral neuropathies associated with diabetes and cancer chemotherapy. The company has headquarters in South San Francisco, California and is traded on the New York and Pacific Stock Exchanges under the symbol GNE.
# # #