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Max Planck Innovation Concludes Diagnostic microRNA Licensing Agreement

Max Planck Innovation GmbH, the technology transfer agency of the Max Planck Society, Germany's leading basic research organization, has signed a co-exclusive license agreement with Stratagene Corporation (NASDAQ:STGN), a developer, manufacturer and marketer of specialized life science research and diagnostic products. Under the terms of the agreement, Stratagene has been granted rights to patents covering more than 150 human microRNA sequences for use in diagnostic applications.

The license is the fourth and last microRNA license granted for diagnostic purposes. “MicroRNAs play a critical role in essential cellular functions and for the understanding of human diseases,” said Jörn Erselius, CEO of Max Planck Innovation. “Therefore, the microRNA-technology has sparked broad interest in the industry. To allow for a fast progress in the field, we decided to pursue a differentiated licensing strategy. We are granting broad non-exclusive licences to the microRNA patents for research purposes and we have issued in total two co-exclusive licenses for therapeutic applications. In the diagnostic field, we decided to limit access to four partners and we are happy to welcome Stratagene as the fourth licensee.“

Last year, similar licenses for diagnostic purposes were granted to Rosetta Genomics Ltd. (Rehovot, Israel), Exiqon A/S (Copenhagen, Denmark), and Asuragen, Inc. (Austin, USA).

About microRNAs

MicroRNAs are small, single-stranded RNA molecules consisting of about 22 nucleotides, which regulate gene expression and thereby the amount of protein produced in a cell. The existence and function of microRNAs in vertebrates have been discovered by Tom Tuschl and his team at the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Göttingen and were first described in 2001.

Since the 1960s, it is known that protein production in a cell starts by transcription of the genetic information in the nucleus of a cell into a so-called messenger RNA. This mRNA travels to the ribosome machinery of the cytoplasm, which transcribes the mRNA into proteins.

A single mRNA can be used as a template to generated hundreds of copies of a give protein. However today it is known that the exact number of copies is regulated by microRNAs.

MicroRNAs are produced from much longer genes in several steps in the nucleus and the cytoplasm. They execute their function by binding to complementary sequences in their target mRNAs, thereby inhibiting translation and inducing mRNA degradation.

So far, over 400 microRNAs have been identified in humans and it is estimated, that there might be a total of up to 1,000 or more in the human genome. MicroRNAs are likely to play significant roles in the onset of many diseases, including metabolic disease, infections, and cancer. Therefore, microRNAs have the potential to become the basis for a new class of diagnostics and therapeutics.

Dr. Jörn Erselius
Managing Direktor
Max-Planck-Innovation GmbH

About Max Planck Innovation

Max Planck Innovation advises and supports scientists of the Max Planck Society in evaluating inventions and filing patent applications. Max Planck Innovation markets patents and technologies to industry and coaches founders of new companies based on research results from Max Planck Institutes.

Every year, Max Planck Innovation evaluates about 130 inventions, of which about 80 lead to the filing of a patent application. In the last five years alone, Max Planck Innovation advised 28 spin-offs, closed more than 450 license deals and generated proceeds of more than 100 million Euros for inventors, institutes and the Max Planck Society. As a result, Max Planck Innovation is among the world's most successful technology transfer organizations.

Max Planck Innovation was founded in 1970 as Garching Instrumente GmbH and operated under the name of Garching Innovation from 1993 to 2006.

About Stratagene Corporation

Stratagene is a developer, marketer and manufacturer of specialized life science research and diagnostic products. The Company's life science research unit supports advances in science by inventing, manufacturing and distributing products that simplify, accelerate and improve research. These products are used throughout the academic, industrial and government research sectors in fields spanning molecular biology, genomics, proteomics, drug discovery and toxicology. The Company's diagnostic unit develops and manufactures products for urinalysis, and high quality automated instrument and reagent systems that use blood samples to test for more than 1,000 different allergies and autoimmune disorders. In addition, by combining its expertise in diagnostics and molecular biology, as well as its experience with FDA regulatory procedures, the Company is pursuing opportunities to expand its product portfolio to include molecular diagnostic kits and instrumentation. More information is available at

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