LEXINGTON, MASSACHUSETTS, USA, September 26, 2008 – RainDance Technologies announced today the launch of the dScreen Consortium, a research initiative conducted with sanofi-aventis, Paris (EURONEXT: SAN and NYSE: SNY), and Louis Pasteur University of Strasbourg, France, to develop the next generation of high-throughput screening (HTS) for drug discovery applications. The consortium was founded with the assistance of the Alsace BiovalleyTM Cluster, France, which helped secure financing and support for the program. The expected gains in terms of productivity and knowledge should accelerate the drug discovery programs.
The dScreen Consortium assembles the renowned drug screening expertise of sanofi-aventis, the unique expertise in droplet-based micro reactors of the Chemical Biology Laboratory at the Institute for Science and Supramolecular Engineering (ISIS) in Louis Pasteur University, and RainDance Technologies’ unique capabilities to apply droplet-based microfluidic technologies to human health and disease research.
“We are delighted to enter this partnership with two highly innovative research groups in this rapidly advancing field,” said Martin Galvan Ph.D., Scientific Director at the sanofi-aventis research site in Strasbourg. “The expected gains in terms of productivity and knowledge should significantly accelerate our drug discovery programs.”
Based in the Alsace Biovalley in Strasbourg, the consortium will utilize the pico-liter volumes and ultra-high speed capabilities of RainDance’s technology and systems to achieve breakthrough performance in high-throughput drug screening methodologies.
“This exciting project represents the first research collaboration undertaken by our new RainDance Technologies France SARL subsidiary,” said Chris McNary, President and Chief Executive Officer of RainDance Technologies. “The simplicity, speed and minute volume of our technology replace current complex automation solutions in high-throughput screening. Our technology will process 10 million droplets per hour on a single benchtop instrument, dramatically accelerating the drug discovery process while conserving precious screening compounds,” added McNary.
“This project is an excellent opportunity to develop the compartmentalisation of reactions in emulsion droplets for an entirely new field of application: HTS for drug discovery,” said Andrew Griffiths, head of the Chemical Biology Laboratory at ISIS.
“The dScreen Consortium is a great illustration of the “Pôle de Compétitivité” policy in France: the development of breakthrough innovations in drug screening through collaborative R&D programs results in strengthening local actors such as the sanofi-aventis research site and in the creation of a U.S. subsidiary company in Alsace. Furthermore, the establishment of a drug screening services platform based on the results of the program will reinforce the capabilities of our cluster,” said Pascal Neuville, President of Alsace Biovalley.
More about dScreen
The aim is to develop a digital microfluidic system for quantitative HTS of bio-active compounds using purified targets and cell-based assays. The very high-throughput will enable the measurement of dose-response curves for every compound in a chemical library. The second objective is to develop a new system for compound storage in which each compound will be stored in droplets using a microfluidic device.
About the ALSACE BIOVALLEY™ cluster
The ALSACE BIOVALLEY™ cluster’s mission is to bring together and support the development and growth of all public and private players involved in the sector of life sciences and healthcare in Alsace. The ALSACE BIOVALLEY™ cluster brings together the main organizations supporting the field of life science in Alsace, thus granting all its players a simplified, more efficient and rationalized access to the entire pool of regional resources and skills.
The ALSACE BIOVALLEY™ cluster claims to be a genuine project catalyst and to hold the position of one of the main European clusters, offering entry into the unique network of excellence provided by the trinational Biovalley cluster (Alsace, Basel and Freiburg region).
About Louis Pasteur University
Louis Pasteur University (ULP, Strasbourg, France – http://www-ulp.strasbg.fr), founding partner of EUCOR (European Federation of Universities of the Upper Rhine), is a member of the League of European Research Universities (LERU, http://www.leru.org). A strong partnership also exists with the main French research institutions (CNRS, INSERM and INRA).
In the field of contract-based research with private companies, ULP has (since 1987) already set up a department for industrial relations and technology transfer (ULP-Industrie), which provides efficient support for the scientists.
Sanofi-aventis, a leading global pharmaceutical company, discovers, develops and distributes therapeutic solutions to improve the lives of everyone. Sanofi-aventis is listed in Paris (EURONEXT: SAN) and in New York (NYSE: SNY).
Forward-looking statements – sanofi-aventis
This press release contains forward-looking statements as defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, as amended. Forward-looking statements are statements that are not historical facts. These statements include product development, product potential projections and estimates and their underlying assumptions, statements regarding plans, objectives, intentions and expectations with respect to future events, operations, products and services, and statements regarding future performance. Forward-looking statements are generally identified by the words “expects,” “anticipates,” “believes,” “intends,” “estimates,” “plans” and similar expressions. Although sanofi-aventis’ management believes that the expectations reflected in such forward-looking statements are reasonable, investors are cautioned that forward-looking information and statements are subject to various risks and uncertainties, many of which are difficult to predict and generally beyond the control of sanofi-aventis, that could cause actual results and developments to differ materially from those expressed in, or implied or projected by, the forward-looking information and statements. These risks and uncertainties include among other things, the uncertainties inherent in research and development, future clinical data and analysis, including post marketing, decisions by regulatory authorities, such as the FDA or the EMEA, regarding whether and when to approve any drug, device or biological application that may be filed for any such product candidates as well as their decisions regarding labelling and other matters that could affect the availability or commercial potential of such products candidates, the absence of guarantee that the products candidates if approved will be commercially successful, the future approval and commercial success of therapeutic alternatives as well as those discussed or identified in the public filings with the SEC and the AMF made by sanofi-aventis, including those listed under “Risk Factors” and “Cautionary Statement Regarding Forward-Looking Statements” in sanofi-aventis’ annual report on Form 20-F for the year ended December 31, 2007. Other than as required by applicable law, sanofi-aventis does not undertake any obligation to update or revise any forward-looking information or statements.
About RainDance Technologies
RainDance Technologies is pioneering the use of high-throughput microdroplet-based analysis in human health and life science research. The company’s core RainStorm™ technology generates millions of discrete droplets that can encapsulate a single molecule, cell or reaction and be digitally analyzed and sorted one at a time. The power, precision and simplicity of microdroplets enable researchers to answer complex questions with unprecedented sensitivity and quantitation. The complete RainDance solution includes automated instrumentation, customizable bioinformatics and high-value consumables and reagents for applications including targeted next-generation DNA sequencing, methylation, digital PCR and single cell analysis. Based in Lexington, Massachusetts, the company supports scientists around the world through its international sales and support operations and a global network of distributors and service providers. For more information, please visit www.RainDanceTech.com.
RainDance, RainStorm, ThunderStorm, Digital Biology are trademarks of RainDance Technologies, Inc. All other brands may be trademarks of their respective holders.