Variagenics Gains Patent For MTHFR Gene

The United States Patent and Trademark Office has issued U.S. Patent No. 6,074,821 entitled “cDNA for Human Methylenetetrahydrofolate Reductase.” to VARIAGENICS, INC. Assigned to McGill University in Montreal, Canada, the patent has been exclusively licensed to under the terms of a March 25, agreement.

In connection with the licensing arrangement, is supporting research in the laboratory of Professor Rima Rozen at McGill University.

Dr. Rozen, who cloned the human methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) gene and subsequently identified variant forms of the gene that affect folate metabolism, is currently continuing investigations regarding the importance of MTHFR in a variety of diseases, including cancer and cardiovascular disease.

The MTHFR genotype has been shown to affect blood levels of homocysteine and folates, which in turn affect risk of a number of diseases and disorders including cardiovascular and central nervous system diseases, and cancer.

The issued claims cover methods for determining MTHFR levels based upon genotype, as well as methods for associating MTHFR deficiency with the risk of cardiovascular disease, cancers, neurological disorders, and disorders influenced by folic acid metabolism, or the prognosis of patients with these diseases.

It is believed that such an association may lead to the development of specific genetic diagnostic tests useful in determining diagnosis, prognosis and therapeutic benefit of treatment regimens for patients with such disorders.

is intensively investigating pharmacologically important pathways, and MTHFR is a key enzyme in the folate pathway,” said Vincent P. Stanton, Ph.D., Vice President and Principal Scientist at VARIAGENICS.

“Folate metabolism plays an important role in both pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic behavior of a variety of drugs.The McGill research collaboration and the licensing of the MTHFR patent allows to move ahead with the continued development of new diagnostic tools that ultimately may be useful for both disease risk assessment and pharmacogenetic purposes.”

VARIAGENICS, INC. through its proprietary technology platform, identifies single-nucleotide polymorphisms, in genes that affect drug action and applies this information to the discovery and development of new pharmaceutical products, diagnostic products, and disease- management practices.

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