Public Release: 

Idun develops new drug screen for treatments of stroke, heart attack, and cancer

Noonan/Russo Communications

Key apoptosis reaction adaptable to high throughput screening

KEYSTONE, Colorado, January 22, 2001 - Idun Pharmaceuticals, Inc. described the successful recreation in the lab of a key biological reaction that occurs in human cells and is part of the apoptosis pathway. This assay is being used to help understand the mechanism of apoptosis at the molecular level and to screen new drugs that modulate apoptosis. This development was presented at the Molecular Mechanisms of Apoptosis Meeting in Keystone, Colorado.

In the study, entitled, "Reconstitution of Apaf-4/Procaspase-9 Holoenzyme-Mediated Procaspase-3 Activation: Requirement for Caspase-9 Conformational Change or Apaf-1 Association," it was shown that recombinant components of the human apoptosis pathway can be combined in vitro to carry out the activation of one of the key components that triggers programmed cell death.

"Developing a key apoptosis reaction in vitro that mimics a natural in vivo reaction has important applications, both for use as a drug screen and as a tool to better understand how apoptosis is regulated," said Dr. Kevin Tomaselli, Vice President, Discovery Research and Co-Founder of Idun Pharmaceuticals. "This gives us the ability to screen for drugs in a high throughput format that modulate apoptosis by affecting this specific apoptosis reaction."

"Idun's expertise and success in apoptosis encompasses the entire breadth of cutting edge biotechnology," said Steven Mento, Ph.D., President and CEO of Idun Pharmaceuticals. "We bring together the disciplines of gene discovery, functional genomics, high throughput screening (HTS), biochemical validation, structural modeling, and targeted drug development and apply them to the discovery and characterization of human apoptosis genes. This includes determining the function of the genes and their role in disease. Based on that, we develop new drugs to treat important human diseases such as cancer, heart attacks and stroke. Now there are entire biotech industries created around the individual technologies that Idun has been rigorously practicing for more than six years."

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Idun Pharmaceuticals, Inc. is a biopharmaceutical company based in San Diego, CA. It creates innovative human therapeutics with a primary focus on controlling apoptosis, or programmed cell death. Idun believes that controlling the cell death process will have utility in treating cancer, neurodegenerative diseases, ischemic disorders and cardiovascular disease. The company has adopted a commercialization strategy encompassing strategic collaborations with major pharmaceutical companies, internal, independent development of selected small molecule therapeutics, and out-licensing of diagnostics, gene therapies, and bioproduction technologies. Idun has a broad patent portfolio covering the fundamental and core technologies involved in the regulation of cell death and has established partnerships with Abbott Laboratories in cancer, with Elan Corporation, plc in stroke, and Becton Dickinson and Company in research reagents.

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