CHICAGO -- Chromatin Inc., a leader in the design, delivery and use of mini-chromosomes, announced that the United States Patent and Trademark Office has issued U.S. Patent No. 7,119,250 entitled Plant centromere compositions.

This landmark patent permits construction of mini-chromosomes as vectors for plant and animal cells and includes techniques for creating transgenic plants using engineered mini-chromosomes. Importantly, this patent is not specific to a particular plant species, but instead provides Chromatin with exclusive rights to use mini-chromosome technology in all plants.

The issued patent covers technology developed by Drs. Daphne Preuss, Gregory Copenhaver and Kevin Keith at The University of Chicago. The patent has been exclusively licensed to Chromatin and allows the Company to sublicense the technology for commercial development. It further strengthens Chromatin's intellectual property position, adding to the company's portfolio of over 40 patents, applications and inventions that cover the design, delivery and use of mini-chromosomes.

Alan Thomas, director of U Chicago Tech, the technology-transfer office at the University of Chicago, said "This is an important patent for the University and Chromatin, and reflective of the breadth and impact of this technology." Progress at Chromatin is also featured as an example of an unusually promising and successful tech-transfer project in the February 1, 2007 issue of the University of Chicago Chronicle.

In addition to awarding Chromatin exclusive rights to mini-chromosomes in plants, this patent also describes technology that makes it possible to add several genes ("gene stacks") simultaneously to a plant, reducing the time and expense to commercialize new products. In addition, the identification of nucleic acid sequences that function as plant centromeres has allowed Chromatin to generate stably inherited DNA constructs and mini-chromosomes in several plant species.

Chromatin Inc. develops and markets novel proprietary technology that enables entire chromosomes to be designed and incorporated into plant cells. These engineered chromosomes make it possible for the first time to simultaneously introduce multiple genes into a plant cell while maintaining precise control of gene expression. Chromatin is employing these new genetic tools to design and market products that confer commercially valuable traits in plants, including improved nutritional and health characteristics, and can be used for industrial, agricultural and pharmaceutical product development.

SOURCE: Chromatin Inc. via Business Wire.