RiboMed News 2002

RiboMed Receives DARPA Contract for Pathogen Work

Phoenix (November 19, 2002): RiboMed (trade name for Designer Genes, Inc.), a valley-based translational genomics company developing novel genetic detection technologies, was awarded a $211,000 contract from DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency), the primary research and development center for the Department of Defense. The primary goal of the contract is to develop the signal-generating system for a portable device that will allow the rapid and specific detection of anthrax and other biological materials in humans or the environment. This will be a field device which can detect the presence of specific pathogens without the need for sophisticated, laboratory-based analysis.

“RiboMed is currently completing development of its RiboMaker™ Detection System, a rapid, isothermal, signal amplification system for the detection of target DNA, RNA, or protein. This should be the ideal signal generation chemistry for this device,” said Dr. Michelle Hanna, RiboMed president and CEO. “It is not a target amplification technology, nor a true signal amplification technology. Rather, it uses our proprietary technology, Abscription™. It will greatly facilitate the early detection of pathogens in the field.”

Most current technologies used for the detection and identification of anthrax require that samples be processed in a laboratory using expensive and sophisticated equipment. Most involve the polymerase chain reaction (PCR), which is inhibited by components in blood and many of the detergents used in pathogen DNA isolation. Abscription™ is far more robust and is not inhibited by many of these compounds. Thus, it is ideal for a field device of this type.

Designer Genes, Inc. Changes Its Name to RiboMed: Phoenix (November 18, 2002). Designer Genes, Inc., a valley-based translational genomics company specializing in the development of products for the early detection of diseases such as cancer and anthrax, is now doing business under the name RiboMed. The name change was made to more accurately reflect the company’s focus on ribonucleic acid (RNA) based technology.

“We changed the name because RiboMed more accurately represents our technology,” said company president and CEO, Dr. Michelle Hanna. “We are developing medical products utilizing proprietary nucleic acid chemistry that is primarily based on RNA. Our future therapeutics will be “ribotoxic drugs”, which will impair RNA metabolic pathways to inhibit uncontrolled cell division. RiboMed captures that dual focus and is unique in the marketplace.”

ACE Awards RiboMed “Talk of the Town”

ACEPhoenix (November 18, 2002): RiboMed (trade name of Designer Genes, Inc.), a company developing genetic-based disease detection technologies, was honored with “The Talk of the Town” award for Arizona Corporate Excellence (ACE) this month. The ACE Awards, sponsored by the Arizona Business Journal, KPMG, Brown & Bain, P.A., Comerica, and Momentum Interactive, is a newly created program to honor the 100 fastest growing companies in Arizona.

RiboMed, currently in its third year of operation in Phoenix, has received local attention because of its biotechnology and translational genomics focus and the efforts of company president and CEO, Dr. Michelle Hanna, to help recruit the International Genomics Consortium (IGC) to Arizona. Hanna was a member of the Governor’s Task Force on IGC, serves on the Board of Directors for the Arizona BioIndustry Cluster, and continues to work with community leaders on the Flinn Foundation Project Steering Committee to develop a Roadmap for Arizona’s Future in the Biosciences.

“The ACE award is such an honor,” Hanna said. “It’s great to know that RiboMed has people talking and thinking about the phenomenal potential for growth in the biotechnology sector here in Arizona. We hope that having the IGC here will help to attract other biotechnology companies to the state and spawn new companies to commercialize technologies already under development at our Universities.”


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