Athersys Issued Patent for Secreted Protein Activation, Production Covers Key Aspects of Core RAGE Technology Platform



    CLEVELAND, April 23 /PRNewswire/ --  Athersys Inc. announced today that it
 has received a U.S. patent covering key aspects of its core RAGE (Random
 Activation of Gene Expression) technology, specifically addressing the
 activation and production of secreted proteins and cell surface proteins.  Use
 of the patented technology has enabled Athersys to create a genome-wide
 collection of secreted proteins, which it is applying in multiple internal
 research programs in areas including oncology, cardiovascular disease,
 immunology, neurobiology and developmental biology.
     U.S. Patent number 6,361,972, entitled "Compositions and methods for non-
 targeted activation of endogenous genes," is part of Athersys' growing patent
 estate surrounding its proprietary RAGE technology.  Currently, the Company
 has an additional 17 patents pending related to the core RAGE technology
 platform, with multiple issuances expected over the next six months.
 Athersys' RAGE technology enables production of virtually every protein in the
 human genome without first having to clone and isolate genes, or even know a
 gene's sequence or elements that control its expression.  Athersys has formed
 a number of collaborations around its RAGE technology with partners including
 Bristol Myers Squibb, Pfizer, Medarex, and 3-Dimensional Pharmaceuticals.
     Commenting on the significance of the recently issued '972 patent, Gil Van
 Bokkelen, Ph.D., chairman, president and chief executive officer of Athersys
 said, "Historically, secreted proteins and cell surface proteins have been a
 rich source of new therapeutics and drug targets, and are currently the focus
 of major drug discovery programs throughout the industry. Our comprehensive
 library of secreted proteins is enabling us to efficiently conduct a broad
 range of research programs, including those designed to identify factors that
 regulate many important aspects of cellular function, growth and development.
 Combined with our other capabilities, we can efficiently identify and validate
 novel antibody targets, small molecule drug targets, and therapeutic protein
 candidates.  We can also produce cell lines expressing clinically validated
 drug targets in a manner that does not require the use of cloned and isolated
 gene sequences."
     Athersys is a functional genomics and biopharmaceutical company engaged in
 the development, application and commercialization of therapeutic products and
 novel gene expression tools. The company's research and development programs
 are focused on its two proprietary platform technologies: RAGE (Random
 Activation of Gene Expression(TM) and SMC(TM) (Synthetic Microchromosome(TM))
 vector system. RAGE is a novel gene expression system that provides the unique
 ability to produce protein from virtually every gene in the human genome,
 without requiring the cloning of individual genes or use of cDNA libraries.
 RAGE greatly accelerates the identification and validation of novel drug
 targets by enabling the direct correlation of a disease process or
 characteristic with expression of a specific protein. As a result, RAGE has
 powerful applications in functional genomics; the generation of validated drug
 targets; discovery of novel antibody drug targets; structural proteomics and
 rational drug design; and the production of protein therapeutics. Athersys is
 developing novel therapeutic products based on its proprietary technologies,
 through partnerships and internal research and development programs. This
 press release and further information on Athersys Inc. can be found on the
 World Wide Web at: www.athersys.com .
     Statements herein that are not descriptions of historical facts are
 forward-looking and subject to risk and uncertainties. Actual results could
 differ materially from those currently anticipated due to a number of factors,
 including risks relating to the early stage of products under development;
 uncertainties related to patent protection; uncertainties relating to clinical
 trials; dependence on third parties, including strategic partners,
 collaborators and key personnel; and risks relating to the development and
 commercialization, if any, of Athersys' proposed products (such as
 effectiveness of our products, marketing, manufacturing, safety, regulatory,
 patent or product liability, supply, competition and other risks).
 
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SOURCE Athersys Inc.

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