Posted: Tuesday, September 25, 2001
Diversa Corporation today announced the completion of the sequencing of the Pyrolobus fumarii genome. The work was completed with Celera Genomics, an Applera Corporation business. The sequence of P. fumarii is expected to contribute to the discovery of thermostable agricultural, chemical, and chiral pharmaceutical products.
This is the second genome-sequencing project that Diversa and Celera have completed under the collaborative agreement signed in December of 2000. The first milestone, the completion of the sequencing of the Streptomyces diversa(TM) genome, was announced in February of this year and is expected to enable faster discovery and development of novel molecules of pharmaceutical interest from Diversa's PathwayLibrary(TM) collections.
Pyrolobus fumarii was first identified in the laboratory of Professor Karl Stetter of the University of Regensburg, who has been a member of Diversa's Scientific Advisory Board since its founding.
P. fumarii was discovered in the wall of a black smoker, or a deep-sea hydrothermal vent formed by sulfur-bearing minerals from beneath the Earth's crust, located in the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. The organism grows at temperatures between 90 degrees C and 113 degrees C, the highest temperature recorded for an organism to date.
P. fumarii grows optimally at 106 degrees C, or six degrees above the boiling point of water. Consequently, the gene products recovered from this genome are expected to be extremely thermostable, or heat-tolerant. Applications for such highly thermostable products include many animal feed additives, agricultural product processing enzymes, and industrial and consumer product enzymes, which are targets for Diversa's joint venture agreements with Syngenta (Zymetrics) and The Dow Chemical Company (Innovase).
P. fumarii, an obligate chemolithoautotroph, is able to survive on inorganic chemicals, hydrogen, and carbon dioxide. Accordingly, the genome of this organism is expected to contain many novel metabolic enzymes of commercial interest. The genome of P. fumarii was found to be 1.85Mbp in length and contains approximately 2,000 genes. Initial sequence annotation has revealed an unusually high number of genes with no obvious similarity to previously described genes from eubacteria and archaea. The novelty of the organism's genes is expected to yield similarly unique gene products, some of which have already been characterized by Diversa.
Diversa Corporation is a global leader in developing and applying proprietary technologies to discover and evolve novel genes and gene pathways from diverse sources. The Company is utilizing its fully integrated approach to develop novel enzymes and other biologically active compounds, such as orally active drugs, produced by these genes and gene pathways. The Company's proprietary evolution technologies facilitate the optimization of genes to develop products for the pharmaceutical, agricultural, chemical processing, and industrial markets. Within these broad markets, the Company is targeting key multi-billion dollar market segments where the Company believes its technologies and products will create high value and competitive advantages for strategic partners and customers. The Company's strategic partners are market leaders and include Aventis Animal Nutrition S.A., Celanese Ltd., Celera Genomics, The Dow Chemical Company, GlaxoSmithKline plc, Invitrogen Corporation, and Syngenta Agribusiness Biotechnology Research, Inc. The Company has also formed joint ventures with The Dow Chemical Company (named Innovase LLC) and with Syngenta Seeds AG (named Zymetrics, Inc.). Additional information is available at Diversa's website: www.diversa.com.
Statements in this press release that are not strictly historical are ``forward-looking'' and involve a high degree of risk and uncertainty. These include statements related to the utility of P. fumarii in the discovery of thermostable agricultural and industrial products, the expected thermostability and novelty of gene products from P. fumarii, and the utility of the Streptomyces diversa(TM) genome to enable faster discovery and development of novel molecules of pharmaceutical interest from Diversa's PathwayLibrary(TM) collections, all of which are prospective. Such statements are only predictions, and the actual events or results may differ materially from those projected in such forward-looking statements. Factors that could cause or contribute to differences include, but are not limited to, risks involved with Diversa's new and uncertain technologies, risks associated with Diversa's dependence on patents and proprietary rights, risks associated with Diversa's protection and enforcement of its patents and proprietary rights, Diversa's dependence on existing collaborations, the development or availability of competitive products or technologies, and the future ability of Diversa to enter into and/or maintain collaboration and joint venture agreements. These factors and others are more fully described in Diversa's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including, but not limited to, Diversa's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2000. These forward-looking statements speak only as of the date hereof. Diversa expressly disclaims any intent or obligation to update these forward-looking statements.
Note: PathwayLibrary(TM), Streptomyces diversa(TM), and Diversa are U.S. trademarks of Diversa Corporation.
For further information, please contact Hillary Theakston, Investor Relations of Diversa, +1-858-526-5121; or Virginia Amann of Atkins & Associates, +1-858-860-0266, for Diversa.
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