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Tuesday, October 10, 2000

Floyd E. Bloom, M.D.
Founding Chief Executive Officer
(858) 677-0466


New Company to Establish Leadership Position in Development of Standardized, Quantitative Databases to Accurately Depict and Integrate Gene Expression Patterns in 3-Dimensional Context of Brain Structures

LA JOLLA, CA – Neurome, Inc., a newly established neuroscience company, announced today that it will use its proprietary technologies to develop standardized, quantitative databases that accurately depict and integrate gene expression patterns in the 3-dimensional context of the brain's structures, circuits and cells, and will deploy these databases in primary research directed toward the discovery and development of gene targets for enhancement of brain function and treatment of brain-based disease.

"Neuroscience offers the greatest challenge in biology, the leading growth area for biomedical research, and the focus of hope for understanding and treatment of brain-based behaviors and pathologies, from deficits in memory and learning to diseases like Alzheimer's and schizophrenia," said Dr. Floyd E. Bloom, Neurome's chief executive officer. "The opportunity afforded by Neurome is to begin examination of specific brain genes in the context of brain structure and function, and to explore their roles in promoting or preventing disease, in facilitating or blocking drug action, and in supporting, or deforming, the complex intercellular activity that determines human behavior."

Neurome's founders, Dr. Floyd E. Bloom and Dr. Warren G. Young, both of The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California, and Dr. John H. Morrison, of Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York City, New York, are leading computer-based neuroscientists and pioneers in the modern applications of neuroanatomy. Their work on the Company's technologies covers more than fifteen years of research and invention.

Dr. Bloom recently retired as the editor-in-chief of Science and is the chairman of the department of neuropharmacology at The Scripps Research Institute. Dr. Morrison is the Johnson Professor of Geriatrics and Adult Development at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, where he is also director of the Kastor Neurobiology of Aging Laboratories and director of the Fishberg Research Center for Neurobiology. He will serve as Neurome's chief scientific officer. Dr. Young is the director of neuropharmacology computing at The Scripps Research Institute and the managing editor of Brain Research Interactive. He will serve as Neurome's chief technology officer.

Both The Scripps Research Institute and Mount Sinai School of Medicine are founding shareholders of Neurome. Additional information regarding organization and financing of the Company will be announced in the near future.

"Recent advances in neuroscience, from the non-invasive imaging of the human brain to the molecular directions for development of embryonic brains of experimental animals, offer new theatres for observation and exploration of brain development, mature function, and aging," commented Dr. Morrison. "The progress of the Human Genome Project and the "Brain Molecular Anatomy Project" (BMAP) of the National Institute of Mental Health promise a complete inventory of mammalian genes; and combined with powerful new genomics tools offer the opportunity to determine which genes from that inventory are active in the brain - where as many as half of all genes find their only expression."

"The neurosciences have remained a leading growth area of biomedical research for more than 30 years, attracting scientists to the greatest challenge in biology, the understanding of the functions, capacities and diseases of the brain," said Dr. Young. "With recent advances in genomics and computer science, however, the demand for procedures that can rapidly extract accurate, reliable quantitative data on brain structure has increased dramatically and the Neurome Technologies will help meet that demand."

Most of the tools for neurochemistry, neuroimaging, and neuronal gene discovery are advancing rapidly, and computer science (especially the growing discipline of "bioinformatics") offers remarkably sophisticated tools for integration and interpretation of the biological data. However, the essential disciplines of neuroanatomy and neuropathology have remained more or less unchanged over the past century. The absence of a standardized regime for collection and organization of brain experimental data and the highly subjective nature of original data derived from observation, measurement and commentary by the individual researcher behind the microscope make accurate comparisons problematic, and comprehensive analyses of gene expression in the context of space and time approximate rather than precise.

To attack this problem, the founders have jointly developed the "Neurome Technologies," to permit Neurome to produce, collect, and integrate accurate, 3-dimensional volumetric data on gene expression within the brain and to correlate that data with the developing wealth of learning on the architecture and functions of brain structures, circuits and cells.

The Neurome Technologies include: MiceSlice™ for standardized preparation of brain section tissues, the foundation material for development of standardized experimental protocols; NeuroZoom™ for precise, computer-aided extraction, analyses, and display of quantitative data from microscope images of brain; BrainArchive™, an electronic brain "atlas" for archiving, integration and comparison of brain structure and circuitry data; and, BrainPrint™ for automated comparison of quantitative, spatial, and volumetric data from mice, whether genetically-manipulated, wild-type, or control.

It is the initial mission of Neurome to complete development of the Neurome Technologies for high throughput commercial/industrial application and to integrate the Neurome Technologies into a unitary process for production of standardized, quantitative data for use by Neurome's own researchers and the Company's pharmaceutical, biotech and academic research partners.

With the Human Genome Project nearing its goal of a complete inventory of genes in humans, and companion projects similarly close to providing the encyclopedia of genes for mice and other mammals, scientists have recognized that the brain represents not only the mysterious control center for the organism, but the organ with the richest inventory of genes, employing more than half the genes of the genome in roles specific to the unique functions performed by the brain and central nervous system. The race now begins to determine the function of each such gene and to develop strategies for using the knowledge of these functions to treat disease, enhance brain function and understand the very nature and implications of consciousness among higher organisms.

While the molecular genetic techniques required to design and develop animal models are relatively well established, these models will not reach their full potential for investigating normal brain function, pathogenesis and developing therapeutic strategies until sufficiently powerful tools are utilized in the neuropathologic assessment of such mice. The dominance of this approach for investigation of both normal and pathologic brain function will carry with it a requirement for far more sophisticated, quantitative assessment of the cellular manifestations of the genetic manipulation on discrete structural and functional properties, as well as methods for the organization of such data into a useful database of reliable quantitative data.

Neurome, Inc., develops standardized, quantitative databases that accurately depict and integrate gene expression patterns in the 3-dimensional context of the brain?s structures, circuits and cells, and deploys these databases in primary research directed toward the discovery and development of gene targets for enhancement of brain function and treatment of brain-based disease. Neurome performs contract brain research for pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies while at the same time pursuing its own in-house and collaborative research protocols. The data collected from these efforts will populate an evolving, comprehensive database available by subscription and useful on a broad level for analyses of mouse models of brain function and disease. In this regard, the application of the Neurome Technologies will provide rigorous, quantitative data that are optimally suited to the measurement of subtle cell-type specific shifts in gene expression, as well as progression and prevention of degenerative events affecting specific cell classes and brain regions.

For more information, please contact Neurome, Inc., 11149 North Torrey Pines Road, La Jolla, CA 92037-1031. Telephone: (858) 677-0466; Fax: (858) 677-0458.

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