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Patent Issued to Commonwealth Biotechnologies, Inc. for Real Time PCR Analysis of the Different Human Herpes Viruses


Thursday, March 06, 2008

Richmond, VA -- CBI Services, a business unit within the Commonwealth Biotechnologies, Inc. group of companies (Nasdaq: CBTE), has been notified that its patent "Detection and Quantification of Human Herpes Viruses" was issued by the United States Patent and Trademark Office on March 4, 2008 as US Patent 7,338,761. Robert B. Harris, President, CBI, and Thomas R. Reynolds, Executive Vice President, CBI, are co-inventors of the patent which has been assigned to Vigen Laboratories, Wilmette, IL. The development work leading to the patent was done at CBI under contract to Vigen Laboratories. Under an exclusive royalty-bearing license agreement with Vigen Laboratories, CBI has been performing the assays detailed in the patent for the past seven years for physicians and clinics across the country. Now that it is patent protected, the technology will be offered to third party licensees. CBI and Vigen will share equally in any licensing and royalty stream from a third party licensee.

There are eight known human herpes viruses ("HHVs"). The alpha herpes viruses include the simplex viruses, HSV 1 and HSV 2, and varicellovirus, HHV 3. The beta herpes viruses include cytomegalovirus (HHV 5), HHV 6, and HHV 7 (Roseolovirus). The gamma herpes viruses include HHV 4 (Epstein Barr virus) and HHV 8 (Rhadinovirus).

It is estimated that more than 90% of the world’s population is infected with EBV, which is associated with infectious mononucleosis (glandular fever). There is also a well-established relationship between Epstein Barr virus and oncogenesis, particularly in relation to Burkitt’s lymphoma nasopharyngeocarcinoma. Infection also is associated with immuno-suppressed patients and with patients suffering from Hodgkin’s disease. Cytomegalovirus is also significant in today’s population and is known to cause lung infections in immune-suppressed persons. Infection with HHV 5 is believed to be transmitted by saliva, sexual contact, and through blood transfusions. Epstein Barr and cytomegalovirus are both associated with chronic-fatigue syndrome (CFS). HHV 1 and 2 are well-known causative agents of genital herpes. Less clearly characterized is the pathogenic role of HHV 6, associated with roseola and infantum infection in children and with immuno-compromised patients. The influence of HHV 6 infection in AIDS patients may be important but is unclear. Perhaps the most significant aspect to HHV 6 infection is its association with multiple sclerosis and chronic fatigue syndrome. However, no definitive viral connection has yet been made. At present there is no clear evidence for the direct involvement of HHV 7 in any human disease, but it has been suggested that it is associated in HHV 6 related infections. HHV 8 appears to be linked with Karposi’s Sarcoma.

CBI’s assay platform provides rapid and specific assay of each of the various HHVs down to as few as 10 copies of viral DNA in patient samples. The assay has been successfully applied to peripheral blood serum, sputum, cerebrospinal fluid, and various laboratory preparations. The CBI assay platform for the different HHVs offers a significant advance for detecting, identifying, and monitoring the course of infection.

"This assay platform was developed at CBI to meet the research needs of our customer, Vigen Laboratories," said Dr. Robert B. Harris, co-inventor and President of CBI. "We rapidly moved the assay platform from the lab bench and offered this service to clinicians who use the assay to help assess on–going treatment of their patients. With our intellectual property now protected, we will look to out-license this technology to a clinical laboratory service provider who can commercialize the assay on a large scale."

"Having this assay adds to CBI’s pre-clinical and clinical expertise in the infectious disease arena and should help demonstrate the linkage between these viruses and critical diseases," explained Bill Philip, President, Vigen Laboratories. "We have all seen the significant research that has gone into the Human Papilloma virus arena and resultant therapy for cervical cancer. With this Herpes platform, CBI has the lead in delivering similar work that links to a variety of suspected diseases including multiple scelerosis, chronic fatigue syndrome, nasopharyngeocarcinoma, etc. We are working closely with CBI to identify likely commercial partners."

About CBI

The CBI group of companies offers cutting-edge research and development products and services to the global life sciences industry. CBI now operates four distinct business units: (1) CBI Services, an early entry contract research organization, (2) Fairfax Identity Laboratories, a DNA reference lab; (3) Mimotopes Pty, Ltd., Melbourne, Australia, a peptide and discovery chemistry business; and (4) Tripos Discovery Research, Ltd., Bude, England, a medicinal and synthetic discovery chemistry business. Collectively, CBI companies employ over 140 staff in world-class laboratories. For more information, visit CBI on the web at www.cbi-biotech.com.

About Vigen Laboratories

Vigen Laboratories is a privately held Wisconsin corporation. Vigen is a "virtual" start-up company with a primary focus on infectious diseases. It’s research encompasses both pharmaceutical drug discovery and development of novel diagnostic assays. An earlier patented property also developed by CBI and assigned to Vigen allows for identification and measurement of reverse transcriptase. This assay has been used in pipeline drug discovery efforts and can also be utilized as a patient diagnostic (HIV, etc.) or as a detector of "adventitious agents" which has implications in blood bank and other pharmaceutical manufacturing settings.

Any statements contained in this release that relate to future plans, events or performance are forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties as identified in the Company's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Actual results, events, or performance may differ materially. No statement herein should be considered an offer of any securities. Such an offer can only be made in accordance with federal and applicable state securities laws. Readers are cautioned not to place undo reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as the date hereof. Specifically, there can be no guarantee that CBI will successfully license the technology or that any revenues will be generated. The Company undertakes no obligation to publicly release the results of any revisions to these forward looking statements that may be made to reflect the events or circumstances after the date hereof or to reflect the occurrence of unanticipated events.



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