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18 March 2003 - Exiqon and EUROGENTEC announce market licence agreement on the use of Locked Nucleic Acid (LNA)


Copenhagen, Denmark and Sart-Tilman, Belgium, March 18, 2003 - A long-term license agreement including co-development projects on LNA-based genomics products will allow Eurogentec to market products and custom oligos enhanced by locked nucleic acids.

The Danish biotech company Exiqon and the Belgium-based Eurogentec group announced today that they have signed a license agreement for Exiqon's Locked Nucleic Acid (LNA) technology. Under the terms of the agreement, Eurogentec has acquired non-exclusive rights to manufacture and supply LNA-oligonucleotides and services for the genomics research market and will receive from Exiqon the know-how regarding LNA. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

LNA is a novel proprietary nucleic acid analogue, which is easily incorporated in synthetic DNA oligonucleotides thereby providing unprecedented sensitivity, specificity and discriminatory power to a wide range of genomics products. The license and co-development deal will allow Eurogentec to deliver LNA-enhanced products to its customers at competitive prices.

"Partnering with Eurogentec, a leading European provider of genomics research solutions, represents a milestone towards validation of our technology" says the new CEO of Exiqon, Lars Kongsbak. " We believe that LNA is a very strong tool for refining a wide variety of genomics products and research tools, and this agreement will ensure that a wide range of life science customers obtain broad access to LNA technology. Furthermore, we consider this agreement as an important step in our strategy towards commercialisation of Exiqon's LNA technology worldwide and our recent re-focusing on LNA".

"One of Eurogentec main interest is the synthesis of modified oligonucleotides, LNA fits perfectly with our strategy. We are very excited to be able to propose this powerful technology to our customers, which has many applications in the molecular biology field. Our collaboration with Exiqon will not be limited to the synthesis and sales of LNA containing oligonucleotides but will also extend to the development of new applications for LNA containing oligonucleotides in the field of DNA array and Real-Time PCR.
LNA containing oligonucleotides will be synthesised in Oswel, our UK facility, a 100% subsidiary of Eurogentec and will be distributed throughout the Eurogentec world-wide sales and distribution network." Eurogentec quote.

About Exiqon

Exiqon is a privately held company located in the Medicon Valley area of Copenhagen, Denmark. The Company has two unique proprietary core technologies, AQ-Link™ and LNA™. Exiqon's major commercial objective is a focused out-licensing and partnering strategy that seeks to create increased market value and revenue for its licensees and partners. LNA™ provides significantly improved sensitivity, specificity and discriminatory power to nucleic acid recognition assays in a format fully compatible with current molecular biology protocols. AQ-Link™ allows the design or surface modification of a variety of surfaces and solid phase supports for biomolecule display tailored to specific applications. In response to the ever-increasing demands from the life science community for high performance solutions in experimental design and execution, Exiqon's technologies can be integrated into a variety of different third-party platforms thereby providing significant advantages over competing technologies.

About Eurogentec

Eurogentec is a Belgian company offering first-class service in oligonucleotide and peptide synthesis, DNA sequencing, monoclonal and polyclonal antibody production, DNA array and transgenic services. In addition, the company has expertise for the development of new biopharmaceuticals from R&D to GMP clinical batches manufacturing.
Eurogentec was founded in 1985 as a spin off from the University of Liège. The company has established headquarters in the Sart Tilman Science Park (Liège). The Company has subsidiaries in France, Germany, the UK, the Netherlands and a branch office in Switzerland. In 1999 Eurogentec acquired Oswel Research Products in Southampton. In August 2001, the company made another strategic step with the incorporation of the joint venture Nippon EGT in Japan and in May 2002, Eurogentec opened a North American office in Philadelphia. Recently the group acquired the Berlin-based company, Wita Proteomics, which has been renamed Eurogentec Proteomics GmbH.
The EGT Group currently employs 286 people, including 30 PhDs. Revenues grew from € 7 million in 1995 to € 25,8 million in 2001/2002 with a € 3.5 million EBITDA.


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