PRESS RELEASE - June 28, 2000

Tumor reversion : a new strategy against cancer

Molecular Engines Laboratories (MEL) is a start-up in Biotech, with the purpose of developing novel therapeutics for cancer. The strategy takes advantage of a fascinating observation made by Adam TELERMAN and Robert AMSON some 10 years ago, known as tumor reversion : a tumor cell can be reprogrammed into a non-malignant state. Understanding its genetic and molecular mechanisms (“The Molecular Engines”) is a way to new anti-cancer therapies.

In 1994, the group joined the Human Polymorphism Study Center (Fondation Jean DAUSSET - CEPH) in Paris, where both Daniel COHEN, world leader in genomics, and Jean DAUSSET, Nobel Laureate in Medicine and Physiology, expressed great interest in the phenomenon of tumor reversion and its applications.
The need for high performance detectors and for precise quantification of their results led to a close collaboration with two physicists, Georges CHARPAK, Nobel Prize in Physics and Claude HENNION, former President of BIOSPACE Instruments.

In 1999, the progresses made in their research enable to define new developments for potential therapeutic applications. Hence, Georges Charpak, Adam Telerman, Robert Amson, and Claude Hennion, who will become the President and CEO, decide to found Molecular Engines Laboratories (MEL).
MEL obtains a complete transfer of the patents filed by the Fondation Jean DAUSSET - CEPH, sets up a scientific board including Georges Charpak and Daniel Cohen, as well as Pierre Chambon (Strasbourg), Moshe Oren (Weizmann Institute of Sciences, Rehovot, Israel), Joseph Schlessinger (New York, USA) and looks for financing.

The first investors are the venture capital firms VENTECH and ODYSSEE VENTURE in Paris and 3I-TECHNOLOGIEHOLDING in Frankfurt, Germany.

Today, upon an estimation of 100 genes implicated in tumor reversion, 25 are identified and protected by patents for their application as anti-cancer targets, but more generally, for applications in the control of the cell death program. In this regard, the team demonstrated that some of these genes play a crucial role in neurodegenerative diseases such as the Alzheimer's disease.
The strategy of Molecular Engines Laboratories is to characterize most of the genes associated with tumor reversion and to understand their mechanisms in order to induce the death of tumor cells for cancer treatment.

Contact : Robert AMSON – Tel : 33 1 44 64 04 64 – Fax : 33 1 44 64 04 65
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