Research Corp. Technologies (RCT) announced last week that ithas purchased the Pichia yeast expression system forrecombinant protein production from the Phillips Petroleum Co.

The sale, for an undisclosed amount, was finalized at Phillips'headquarters in Bartlesville, Okla. All materials, technicalinformation, patents and licenses are included in the sale.

The Pichia expression system produces recombinant proteinsusing the industrial yeast Pichia pastoris , which growsefficiently on methanol as a carbon source. The yeastapparently thrive in this inexpensive medium, which requiresno costly additives. It can be grown in culture tubes, flasks orfermentors, and users of the system have reported yields oflarge quantities -- grams per liter -- of recombinant proteins.

"This expression system can substantially lower the cost ofproducing important, high-value products," said Bennett Cohen,the RCT associate who will manage the technology.

Phillips, which developed the technology, has licensed therights to use the Pichia expression system to more than 20biotechnology, pharmaceutical and food companies since 1988.The company received its first patent for the Pichia system in1986. Since then, 100 patents have issued and more than 250patent applications are pending worldwide.

RCT, a technology transfer organization based in Tucson, Ariz.,will continue to offer non-exclusive, flexible-term licenses, acomprehensive technology package and training seminars fornew licensees to the Pichia technology.

The Invitrogen Corp., a current licensee to the technology, willmake and sell the Pichia expression kits and train newlicensees at its San Diego facility.

-- Jennifer Van Brunt Senior Editor

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