Origen Therapeutics, Inc. and Embrex, Inc. today announced a research collaboration aimed at combining Origen’s avian embryonic stem (ES) cell technology with Embrex’s in ovo technology. The goal of the collaboration is to develop methods that enhance poultry production and chick quality early in embryonic development. Each party will contribute resources equally to the research collaboration. Specific financial details were not disclosed.

Origen has developed a broad-based technology platform centered on the isolation and culture of avian ES cells. These ES cells have the capacity to differentiate into any other cell type (totipotency), making them potentially useful for the large scale production of desired avian lines. When transferred to recipient embryos, the ES cells may contribute to both somatic tissues and the germline.

“We are very pleased to initiate this research effort with Embrex, bringing together Origen’s avian ES cell technology with Embrex’s automated in ovo injection technology,” said Robert M. Kay, Ph.D., chief executive officer of Origen Therapeutics. “Origen is well positioned for applying new avian embryonic stem cell-based technologies to improve bird health, reduce bird production costs and provide other economic benefits to the poultry industry, and Embrex is the perfect partner as we address the commercial poultry industry and co-develop this technology.”

“This early-stage collaboration fits with our R&D goal to be at the forefront of providing measurable value to our global customers. We believe that Origen is a leader in avian ES cell technology. Combined with our strengths in delivery and embryology and our expanding presence with over 100 poultry producers in 29 countries, we hope to be able to co-develop technologies that will enhance bird performance for the industry,” said Randall L. Marcuson, president and chief executive officer of Embrex.

Poultry production is a substantial industry worldwide, estimated at more than $20 billion annually in the United States alone. Applications of avian ES cell-based technology to this industry, for the generation of larger, meatier, healthier, chickens, could provide significant benefits for this large and growing market.

Embrex, Inc. is an international agricultural biotechnology company. It is focused on developing patented pharmaceutical, biological and mechanical products that improve bird health, reduce bird production costs and provide other economic benefits to the poultry industry. The company has developed and commercialized the first in ovo platform delivery system called the Inovoject® system; a proprietary, highly automated, injection system which eliminates the need for manual vaccination of newly hatched broiler chicks. In addition, the company has developed and markets Bursaplex®, the first in ovo VNF®-based vaccine for inoculating against infectious bursal disease (IBD). Other biologics, pharmaceuticals, and mechanical products currently are under development.

Origen Therapeutics, headquartered in Burlingame, CA, is a privately held biotechnology company developing product opportunities from the emerging fields of avian embryology, embryonic stem cells and transgenics. The company’s mission is to become a technology leader in developing very high quality avian lines for the poultry industry, and in addition is using its transgenic technology for novel drug discovery and for the production of complex recombinant protein therapeutics not easily produced through other means. Attracted by the speed and economy with which domestic chickens can be produced, Origen expects to create significant corporate alliances with biotechnology and large pharmaceutical companies, as well as within the poultry industry, for the commercialization of its products.

This release contains forward-looking statements, including statements with respect to future products, services, markets and financial results. These statements involve risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially. Risks include without limitation Embrex and its partner’s ability to develop new products and technology, to penetrate new markets, the degree of market acceptance of new products, the outcome of Embrex’s patent litigation appeal, the complete commercial development of potential future products or the ability to obtain regulatory approval of products. Such approval is dependent upon a number of factors, such as results of trials, the discretion of regulatory officials, and potential changes in regulations. Additional information on these risks and other factors, which could affect Embrex’s financial results, is included in the Company’s Form 10-K filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and other filings with the SEC.

NOTE: Embrex®, Inovoject®, Bursaplex® and VNF® are registered trademarks of Embrex, Inc.