Detroit-based Asterand plc (LSE: ATD) and its subsidiary BioSeek LLC of South San Francisco, Calif. announced Thursday that the United States Patent and Trademark Office has issued U.S. Patent Nos. 7,908,089 entitled “Patient classification” and 7,912,651 entitled “Function homology screening.”

The patents cover key methods and applications of the company’s ground-breaking BioMap Systems technology.

Patent 7,908,089 relates to BioMap and its use for the classification of clinical patient tissue specimens according to the physiological status of cells present in the sample. Key embodiments of the invention include the ability to classify patients by assaying their cells in vitro to determine response to therapeutic agents and treatments or the status of activity within pathways of interest. This information may be useful in patient prognosis and diagnosis and can be used to develop surrogate markers for disease states.

Patent 7,912,651 covers key methods of cell selection, culture conditions and screening of biologically active agents utilized by the BioMap Systems technology. Key features of the invention include the identification of complex conditions for simultaneous detection of a large number of cellular pathways and the rapid screening and identification of compounds that cause cellular responses. These methods are useful for the characterization and prioritization of drug candidates and compounds based on their impact on human biology. BioSeek scientists are the inventors on both patents, which further strengthens the Company’s intellectual property around BioMAP technology.

“Our BioMap technology represents a truly unique approach and addresses a major unmet need in drug development for model systems that reflect the complexity of human disease,” said Asterand CEO Martyn Coombs. “These issued patents represent a key advance as we continue building the intellectual property portfolio around this platform.”

BioMap Systems are primary cell-based models of human disease biology, designed to replicate the intricate cell and pathway interactions as they are observed in human pharmacology and toxicology. Depending on their mechanism of action, drug compounds induce specific patterns of changes in these systems (BioMap profiles) that can be compared to a large number of reference profiles in the BioMap Database. BioMap provides insight into human pharmacological and toxicological properties of compounds, including on- and off-target effects, dose responses, and the discrimination of closely related compounds.

Asterand is a supplier of high quality human tissue and tissue-based services. Our comprehensive approach to human tissue and research services offers pharmaceutical, biotech and diagnostic companies the unique opportunity to have one company meet all of their human biomaterial needs along the continuum of drug discovery and development. Its mission is to accelerate target discovery and compound validation and enable pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies to take safer and more effective drugs into the market.

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