Enzo Therapeutics Inc. received a new antisense patent onTuesday that the company said enhances effectiveness ofantisense constructs.

The Farmingdale, N.Y., company, a wholly owned subsidiary ofEnzo Biochem Inc. (ASE:ENZ), holds exclusive worldwide rightsto antisense technology from the Research Foundation of theState University of New York. The company was issued asimilar patent in March.

Patent No. 5,208,149, issued Tuesday, "just adds to ourproprietary position," Barry Weiner, executive vice president,told BioWorld.

"The significance of the patent issued today, to which Enzo alsoholds exclusive rights, is that, among other things, it broadlycovers approaches for regulating the gene antisense in any cell-- plant, animal or human," said Elazar Rabbani, Enzo'spresident. "As such, it provides for greater effectiveness andprecision in the use of genetic antisense technology, and shouldhasten its many possible applications."

Weiner, who was not able to discuss the technology in detail,said, "This technology really opens up an opportunity to down-regulate gene function."

Enzo will use the technique internally, he said, in a program todevelop HIV therapeutics and anti-viral applications usinggenetic antisense rather than introducing oligonucleotides.

Besides developing its own products, he added, Enzo wants tobroadly "disseminate" the technology through licensing or jointventures.

Of three patent allowance notices received earlier this yearrelating to this technology, one patent has yet to issue. The firstpatent was filed for in 1983 and concerned antisense researchin bacteria. The current patent was filed for on April 10, 1992,Weiner said, and stems from the "same generation of research"as the first one, although he did not know if the work wasperformed in bacteria.

"Enzo is strongly positioned to benefit from this technology,"Rabbani said, "either for its own proprietary products or bylicensing others for its use."

Enzo's stock was up 13 cents a share on Tuesday, to $7.50.

-- Nancy Garcia Associate Editor

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

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