Genset, a private Paris-based company, completed its fourth round ofprivate financing by raising $19.2 million to support efforts tosequence genes in the regulatory regions of the genome and toenhance its synthetic DNA business.

The company, which has its U.S. headquarters in San Diego, said lastNovember it had raised $13.2 million in the fourth round. ButMonday Genset reported it added another $6 million to the total inthe final closing from two partners, a U.S. institutional investor andthe Japanese venture capital firm, Japan Associated Finance Co., ofTokyo. (See BioWorld Today, Nov. 3, 1994, p. 3.)

Genset and Genethon, a non-profit research center in Evry, France,formed a collaboration last June to begin sequencing genes that arepart of the genome's regulatory code, which accounts for 5 percent ofall genes.

Paschal Brandys, Genset's chairman and CEO, said large scalesequencing of the genome's regulatory regions is scheduled to beginin May when construction is complete on a laboratory in Evry thatwill contain 20 ABI Prism 377 DNA sequencers. The ABI machinesare made by Norwalk, Conn.-based Perkin-Elmer Corp.'s AppliedBiosystems Division in Foster City, Calif.

The Evry lab is the second of three new genomics laboratories thatare part of the Genset and Genethon collaboration. The other twolabs will concentrate on bioinformatics and transcription research.

Brandys said Genset and Genethon intend to have the regulatory coderegion completely sequenced by the end of 1996 as originallyplanned. Under the agreement with Genethon, Genset will getcommercial rights to applications of the research.

Brandys said the company's intention is to sell the gene sequencinginformation to pharmaceutical companies rather than conductingclinical development itself.

"In biology, first you had in vitro [drug development], then in vivoand now in silico," he said, referring to the generation of computerdata bases of gene sequencing information.n

-- Charles Craig

(c) 1997 American Health Consultants. All rights reserved.