Icoria Inc. has been granted U.S. Patent No. 6,852,484, "Methods for the Identification of Inhibitors of Asparagine Synthase as Antibiotics," covering the discovery of a novel gene target for antibiotic development in a biochemical pathway by which fungi produce asparagine, a nutrient necessary for fungal growth. The patent also covers methods enabling the discovery of chemicals that inhibit protein target activities within this critical pathway. These methods potentially increase the probability that fungicides could be found that affect this pathway.

"Chemical compounds identified using this patented methodology may lead to the development of new fungicides with low toxicity profiles," said Keith Davis, Ph.D., vice president, Agricultural Biotechnology. "Because of the increasing rate of resistance to existing products, the development of new fungicides represents a promising opportunity for Icoria."

Since 2001, Icoria has filed for patent protection on 37 fungicide gene targets in more than 20 recognized biological pathways. "We are pleased to have received patents on the first seven candidates," said Davis. "This demonstrates the success of our TAG-KO(R) technology, which drives our fungicide target discovery and development program."

Icoria, Inc. is a biotech company dedicated to deciphering the complexity of biological processes through the application of systems biology to identify biomarkers for drug discovery and development, diagnostics and to develop novel agrichemicals. Icoria has major contracts with the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, the Monsanto Company and Pioneer Hi-Bred International

Source: PR Newswire