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12:00 AM
 | 
May 26, 2003
 |  BioCentury  |  Emerging Company Profile

Sagres: Sifting wheat from chaff

One of the big issues in target discovery today is the fact that hundreds of genes may be up-regulated in any given disease state. Such is the obstacle in comparing cancerous and healthy tissue. To solve that problem, Sagres Discovery Inc. has taken a 20-year old technology - insertional mutagenesis using a retrovirus to identify causative cancer genes - and made it high throughput.

Sagres' technology has its origins at the University of California at Davis, where co-founder David Morris developed a high throughput platform for provirus insertion mutation for functional analysis of the genome. The retrovirus integrates randomly into the genome, and up-regulates genes in mice. Morris made the procedure high throughput by using undisclosed primers and restriction enzymes in the PCR process of cloning the cancer-causing genes.

According to CEO David Ferrick, the technology only identifies genes that maintain the tumor phenotype in vivo using mouse models. "Any given cancer cell may have from...

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