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1/30/2003

NaPro buys genomics business

By Tony Kindelspire
The Daily Times-Call

BOULDER — Boulder-based NaPro Bio Therapeutics announced on Monday that it had bought the genomics business of Fremont, Calif.-based Pangene Corp.

The acquisition includes physical assets, instrumentation, software, customer information, third-party licenses, patents and intellectual property related to Pangene’s gene isolation and service business. NaPro said the Pangene purchase will be relocated and integrated into its facility in Delaware.

“The significance is that we have a very robust (genomics) business at NaPro, and this acquisition will augment our existing business,” said Bob Cohen, NaPro’s vice president for investor relations.

NaPro’s business is divided between the development, production and licensing of drugs and the development of what it calls “novel genomic technologies.”

The company’s genomics division, Cohen explained, is primarily involved in “gene editing” technology.

“Gene editing” can assist in battling such diseases as sickle-cell anemia, he said, which is a disorder caused by a mistake in a single gene.

“What we’re able to do is change that gene within our technology,” said Cohen.

The technology can encourage genes to produce healthy cells. Cohen explained that the technology is related to, but different than, the “mapping of the human genome,” which has been prominent in the news in the past year.

“‘Genome’ (in that context) refers to the entire map of our genetic system,” Cohen said. “What we’re doing is taking that information and producing a specific product.

“This is not the gene therapy that you’ve been reading about recently. What we have is very different.”

Terms of the purchase from Pangene were not disclosed.

NaPro currently has three facilities in Boulder, as well as its Delaware facility and one each in New York and Pennsylvania.

Two years ago, the company purchased five acres of land in the Clover Basin business park, with an option on purchasing additional, adjacent land. At the time, a company spokesperson said plans were to someday build a Longmont campus with the idea of consolidating all of its facilities here. While those plans have been put on hold, they have not been abandoned, Cohen said.

“The (Longmont) land is being held for future development,” he said.

Tony Kindelspire can be reached at 303-776-2244, Ext. 291, or by e-mail at tkindelspire@times-call.com.