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  September 4, 2001

Company Signs Licence for Access
to Virtual Cell Program

Physiome Sciences Inc. of Princeton, N.J., has signed an exclusive, worldwide licensing agreement with the University of Connecticut Health Center that allows the company access to the Virtual Cell computer program.

The Virtual Cell program, designed and created by the faculty and staff of the Center for Biomedical Imaging Technology at the Health Center, mimics the biological actions of a real cell. The program will simulate how a particular cell reacts to applied stimuli.

"We were very impressed with the work of the Health Center's team of developers and researchers and are delighted to license this simulation technology," said Donna Rounds, vice president for intellectual property and external affairs at Physiome Sciences.

"The Virtual Cell technology, combined with Physiome Sciences' proprietary In Silico Cellª technologies, will allow us to build biological models that can be effectively used to facilitate drug discovery, such as in toxicological studies of drug leads and validation of drug targets."

Health Center scientists have created Virtual Cell applications involving a number of complex cellular processes, such as how signals from the outside trigger cells to change function; how neurons "learn" from the frequency and pattern of stimuli; and how the nucleus communicates with remote parts of the cell.

"Improving drug design process has always been one of the objectives of the Virtual Cell technology," said Leslie Loew, professor of physiology and director of the Center for Biomedical Imaging Technology.

"Partnering with Physiome moves us closer to achieving that objective, while pushing forward the capabilities of biological simulation."

Colleagues in Storrs working with Loew on the project are Yung-Sze Choi, a professor of mathematics, and Dong-Guk Shin, a professor of computer science and engineering.

Physiome Sciences Inc., a privately held Princeton-based company, is a leader in the commercial development of software tools, proprietary databases, and web applications for simulating biological processes. This technology platform provides a biological operating system for modeling cells, tissues and organs and predicting potential effects of specific drugs on human and animals in a virtual, computer environment.

The agreement with the Health Center allows Physiome use of the Virtual Cell technology in the study of biological systems for drug discovery and development.

Physiome Sciences' technology platform for modeling living systems is designed to enable drug developers to identify new targets, evaluate the role of different proteins, and predict toxicological effects before they run expensive laboratory experiments.

Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Pat Keefe

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