Pangu Biopharma, Atyr Pharma's Subsidiary In Hong Kong, Files Three Patent Applications

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29th June 2009, 10:38pm - Views: 817

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Pangu BioPharma, aTyr Pharma's Subsidiary in Hong Kong, Files Three Patent Applications

SAN DIEGO, June 29 /PRNewswire-AsiaNet/ --

             aTyr Pharma Targets for Novel Biotherapeutics Based On

                     Naturally Resected tRNA Synthetases

     Pangu BioPharma, a subsidiary of aTyr Pharma in Hong Kong, today

announced the filing of its third patent application on proprietary,

naturally occurring, resected human tRNA synthetases. Although tRNA

synthetases are universal and essential components of protein synthesis

machinery found in all organisms, human synthetases have naturally occurring

resected variants with potent cell signaling activities that are vital to

normal functioning of humans. The work at Pangu BioPharma is focused on

identifying and characterizing new examples of the tRNA synthetases

resectome. In just the first year of operations, Pangu BioPharma has built a

strong patent portfolio that provides fundamental components of aTyr Pharma's

portfolio of biotherapeutic candidates that can be used to treat a wide

variety of diseases, such as cardiovascular, neurological and metabolic


    Pangu BioPharma is the result of an innovative partnership between aTyr

Pharma and the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST), with

project funding from the Innovation and Technology Commission (ITC) of Hong

Kong. James Cai, President of Pangu BioPharma, notes that, "Hong Kong's

government and universities are working together to attract exciting drug

discovery and development companies to make Hong Kong a new frontier in the

biotechnology industry. We based Pangu BioPharma here in Hong Kong in order

to capitalize on this unique position in Asia as well as to tap into the

highly educated population and support of new technology industries. We are

very excited about the productivity and the science being generated by the

scientists in our labs here in Hong Kong, and believe that HKUST has been an

essential partner in generating this mutual success."

    According to Jeff Watkins, CEO of aTyr Pharma, "In just over a year from

incorporation in Hong Kong, Pangu BioPharma has demonstrated how well the

government, university and industry partnership works. In that short time,

with the support of HKUST and funding from the ITC, we have attracted a

highly skilled group of scientists, established a well quipped lab at HKUST

with the latest technology, and built an IP generating platform at the Pangu

BioPharma operations that has already yielded data to support three new

patent applications. These inventions are key components of aTyr Pharma's

product generating engine, and are proof of the strong support Pangu

BioPharma receives from the Hong Kong government and HKUST."

    Professor Paul Schimmel of The Scripps Research Institute is a visiting

scholar at the Institute of Advanced Science at HKUST and a co-founder of

aTyr Pharma as well as Pangu BioPharma. Professor Schimmel was the driver

behind building the partnership between aTyr and HKUST. An expert on tRNA

synthetases, Paul Schimmel has also been the co-founder or founding director

of numerous successful biotechnology companies, including Sirtris

Pharmaceuticals, Alnylam, Repligen Corporation, Alkermes, Inc., Momenta

Pharmaceuticals and Cubist Pharmaceuticals, which were taken public on the

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NASDAQ and are well established as companies that develop and market new

medicines. "This is an exciting time to launch a biotechnology endeavor in

Hong Kong. The government and university system in Hong Kong have a powerful

vision to translate their strengths in research into a thriving biotechnology

industry that opens the door to the valuable resources of China. aTyr Pharma

and Pangu BioPharma are at the forefront of this effort and are pleased to

have the ITC and HKUST as partners. We particularly value the contributions

of Professors Mingjie Zhang and Nancy Ip of the Biochemistry Department at

HKUST, as well as Matthew Yuen of HKUST's Research and Development group,"

says Professor Schimmel. Pangu BioPharma is planning to expand its drug

discovery efforts in Hong Kong with continued support from HKUST and ITC.

    SOURCE:  aTyr Pharma

    CONTACT: Cheryl Quinn

             Director of Business Development of aTyr Pharma




             Jennifer James of Alta Partners



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