Gen-Probe Inc., a supplier of diagnostic products, has formed a newdivision to focus on developing oligonucleotide therapeutics forinfectious and non-infectious diseases. The company plans to file itsfirst investigational new drug (IND) application in 1995.The drug is designed as an antiviral therapeutic for HIV. An antisenseproduct, it will work by blocking the expression of messenger RNA,said Nanibhushan Dattagupta, senior director of therapeutics researchfor Gen-Probe.Dattagupta said he expects the therapeutic division to develop into amajor part of the San Diego company's activities. He noted that thecompany's experience in developing diagnostic genetic probes from itspatented nucleic acid technology has direct application in therapeutics.He said the company could draw on its large database of ribosomalRNA sequences and DNA probes and its proprietary software programsfor sequence analysis for therapeutic purposes.Gen-Probe's new division will be housed in a separate facility and isexpected to be fully operational by May 16. _ Philippa Maister

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