454 Life Sciences Receives $2.4 million NIH Grant for Next Generation Whole Genome Picoliter-Scale Sequencing Technology -- Validates 454 Life Sciences as Leader in Whole Genome

Sequencing Technology --



    BRANFORD, Conn., May 19 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- 454 Life Sciences, a
 majority-owned subsidiary of CuraGen Corporation (Nasdaq:   CRGN), today
 announced that the Company has received a two-year, $2.4 million grant from
 the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), one of the National
 Institutes of Health (NIH).  The grant will help fund the scale up of 454 Life
 Sciences' technology toward sequencing of larger genomes, such as fungi, as an
 important step towards the goal of developing measurement systems that
 routinely and cost-effectively sequence an individual's personal human genome
 on a newly developed proprietary PicoTiter(TM) plate the size of a credit
 card.
     "We are grateful to have support from the NHGRI and NIH.  This grant
 validates our position as a leader in developing whole genome sequencing
 technologies and instrumentations," stated Richard F. Begley, Ph.D., President
 and CEO of 454 Life Sciences.  "We have been able to use the new method we
 developed to routinely sequence whole bacterial genomes and have started the
 commercialization of our instruments and services for whole genome sequencing
 of emerging pathogens.  This grant will allow us to further extend our lead in
 the race to make the sequencing of personal human genomes routine."
     The grant, titled "Massively Parallel High Throughput, Low Cost
 Sequencing," will support the scale up of 454 Life Sciences' technology by:
 further reducing the size of the sub-nanoliter wells and achieving over 2
 million wells on a 2.5 square inch next generation PicoTiter(TM) plate;
 significantly reducing the cost per base; and applying systems improvements to
 sequence a whole fungal genome and large sections of a human genome.  Similar
 to the evolution of the semiconductor industry, the research supported by this
 grant is focused on continuing to improve the density of the number of
 reactions we can perform in parallel while simultaneously reducing costs.
 Currently up to 4 sequencing reactions are performed in the area covered by
 the tip of a human hair.
     Through miniaturization of the sequencing reaction, speed of light based
 sequencing chemistries, and state of the art image processing and informatics,
 454 Life Sciences is currently able to sequence whole genomes up to 100 times
 faster than currently available systems.  The Company's technology is the
 first solid-phase sequencing technology designed to scale from viral to
 bacterial and ultimately to human genomes.  The Company's technology enables
 one individual to not only prepare, but also sequence a genome after
 performing only one sample preparation, irrespective of the size of the genome
 being investigated.  This approach is in stark contrast to standard sequencing
 methods that are significantly more expensive and laborious. For example, to
 sequence the first human genome, the effort required approximately 60 million
 sample preparations, 12 years, and $2.7 billion dollars.
 
     About a Picoliter
     Smaller than the prefix nano which denotes a billionth of a part, a
 picoliter is a sub-nanoliter measure denoting a trillionth of a liter, or 10
 to the negative 12th power of a liter represented numerically as
 0.000000000001 liter.  Nanoliters and picoliters are typically used in
 microfluidics, an emerging branch of nanotechnology dealing with extremely low
 volumes of liquids.  Microfluidics can now accomplish in square centimeters
 and for orders of magnitude less cost what used to take hundreds of square
 feet of traditional laboratory space.
 
     About National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI)
     NHGRI is one of the 27 institutes and centers at the National Institutes
 of Health.  Its primary mission is to foster research into the structure,
 function, and role of the human genome.  The Institute supports research that
 will accelerate genome research and its application to human health.
 Additional information is available at http://www.nhgri.nih.gov.
 
     About 454 Life Sciences
     454 Life Sciences is developing novel instrumentation and sub-nanoliter
 technologies for rapidly and comprehensively determining the nucleotide
 sequence -- "whole genome sequencing" -- of entire viral, bacterial, and human
 genomes.  In 2003, 454 Life Sciences sequenced the adenovirus genome in less
 than one day and submitted the completed sequence to GenBank(R), becoming the
 first to develop a new method and to successfully complete a whole genome
 sequence since Walter Gilbert and Frederick Sanger won the Nobel Prize in 1980
 for the invention of DNA sequencing.  The Company's proprietary technology is
 expected to have widespread applications in drug discovery and development,
 disease diagnosis, animal health, biodefense, agriculture, and industrial
 processes.  454 Life Sciences is a majority owned subsidiary of CuraGen
 Corporation.  Additional information is available at http://www.454.com.
 
     About CuraGen
     CuraGen Corporation (Nasdaq:   CRGN) is a genomics-based pharmaceutical
 company dedicated to improving the lives of patients by developing a pipeline
 of novel protein, antibody, and small molecule therapeutics in the areas of
 oncology, inflammation, obesity and diabetes, and central nervous system
 disorders.  CuraGen's therapeutics are based on internally discovered genes
 from the human genome that are believed to play a role in important mechanisms
 underlying disease, including cell proliferation, anti-angiogenesis and
 peripheral metabolism.  CuraGen has established broad development alliances
 with Abgenix and Bayer, and its experienced preclinical and clinical teams are
 rapidly advancing the Company's pipeline of products for unmet medical needs.
 CuraGen's expertise in systems biology, genomics and bioinformatics is now
 being used to prioritize therapeutic candidates with the highest chance of
 reaching the market and to help predict efficacy and safety in clinical
 trials.  CuraGen's technology and expertise has been used in partnerships with
 more than a dozen leading biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies including
 Bayer, Biogen, Genentech, GlaxoSmithKline, Hoffmann-La Roche and Pfizer.  The
 Company is headquartered in New Haven, CT and additional information is
 available at http://www.curagen.com.
 
     This press release may contain forward-looking statements including
 statements about (i) our ability to scale up 454's technology toward
 sequencing of larger genomes; (ii) our goal of developing measurement systems
 to routinely and cost-effectively sequence an individual's personal human
 genome on a newly developed proprietary sequencing PicoTiter(TM) plate the
 size of a credit card; (iii) our ability to commercialize our instruments and
 services for whole genome sequencing of emerging pathogens; (iv) our plan to
 further extend our lead in the race to make the sequencing of personal human
 genomes routine; (v) the grant's ability support the scale up of 454's
 technology by further reducing the size of the sub-nanoliter wells and
 achieving over 2 million wells on a 2.5 square inch next generation sequencing
 PicoTiter(TM) plate, significantly reducing the cost per base, and applying
 systems improvements to sequence a whole fungal genome and large sections of a
 human genome; (vi) our ability to continue to improve the density of the
 number of reactions we can perform in parallel, while simultaneously reducing
 costs; and (vii) our expectation that 454's proprietary technology will have
 widespread applications in drug discovery and development, disease diagnosis,
 animal health, biodefense, agriculture and industrial processes.  Such
 statements are based on management's current expectations and are subject to a
 number of risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ
 materially from those described in the forward-looking statements.  454 and
 CuraGen caution investors that there can be no assurance that actual results
 or business conditions will not differ materially from those projected or
 suggested in such forward-looking statements as a result of various factors,
 including, but not limited to, the following: the early stage of development
 of 454's products and technologies, CuraGen's stage of development as a
 genomics-based pharmaceutical company, uncertainties of clinical trials,
 government regulation and healthcare reform, technological uncertainty and
 product development risks, product liability exposure, uncertainty of
 additional funding, 454's and CuraGen's history of incurring losses and the
 uncertainty of achieving profitability, CuraGen's reliance on research
 collaborations and strategic alliances, competition, patent infringement
 claims against 454's and CuraGen's products, processes and technologies, the
 ability to protect 454's and CuraGen's patents and proprietary rights and
 uncertainties relating to commercialization rights.  Please refer to CuraGen's
 Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2003 for a
 description of these risks. 454 and CuraGen disclaim any intention or
 obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a
 result of new information, future events, or otherwise, unless required by
 law.
 
     454 Life Sciences Contact:
      Richard F. Begley, Ph.D.
      info@454.com
      (877) 890-GNOM
 
     CuraGen Contact:
      Fred Aslan, M.D.
      faslan@curagen.com
      (888) GENOMICS
 
 

SOURCE 454 Life Sciences

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