Press Release

Diversa Completes of Sequencing of Pyrolobus fumarii Genome – the World’s Highest Temperature Organism

By SpaceRef Editor
September 25, 2001
Filed under , ,

Diversa Corporation
today announced the completion of the sequencing of the Pyrolobus fumarii
genome.
The work was completed with Celera Genomics, an Applera
Corporation business.
The sequence of P. fumarii is expected to contribute to
the discovery of thermostable agricultural, chemical, and chiral
pharmaceutical products.


This is the second genome-sequencing project that
Diversa and Celera have completed under the collaborative agreement signed in
December of 2000.
The first milestone, the completion of the sequencing of
the Streptomyces diversa(TM) genome, was announced in February of this year
and is expected to enable faster discovery and development of novel molecules
of pharmaceutical interest from Diversa’s PathwayLibrary(TM) collections.


Pyrolobus fumarii was first identified in the laboratory of Professor Karl
Stetter of the University of Regensburg, who has been a member of Diversa’s
Scientific Advisory Board since its founding.

P. fumarii was discovered in the wall of a black smoker, or a deep-sea
hydrothermal vent formed by sulfur-bearing minerals from beneath the Earth’s
crust, located in the Mid-Atlantic Ridge.
The organism grows at temperatures
between 90 degrees C and 113 degrees C, the highest temperature recorded for
an organism to date.


P. fumarii grows optimally at 106 degrees C, or six
degrees above the boiling point of water.
Consequently, the gene products
recovered from this genome are expected to be extremely thermostable, or
heat-tolerant.
Applications for such highly thermostable products include
many animal feed additives, agricultural product processing enzymes, and
industrial and consumer product enzymes, which are targets for Diversa’s joint
venture agreements with Syngenta (Zymetrics) and The Dow Chemical Company
(Innovase).

P. fumarii, an obligate chemolithoautotroph, is able to survive on
inorganic chemicals, hydrogen, and carbon dioxide.
Accordingly, the genome of
this organism is expected to contain many novel metabolic enzymes of
commercial interest.
The genome of P. fumarii was found to be 1.85Mbp in
length and contains approximately 2,000 genes.
Initial sequence annotation
has revealed an unusually high number of genes with no obvious similarity to
previously described genes from eubacteria and archaea.
The novelty of the
organism’s genes is expected to yield similarly unique gene products, some of
which have already been characterized by Diversa.

Diversa Corporation is a global leader in developing and applying
proprietary technologies to discover and evolve novel genes and gene pathways
from diverse sources.
The Company is utilizing its fully integrated approach
to develop novel enzymes and other biologically active compounds, such as
orally active drugs, produced by these genes and gene pathways.
The Company’s
proprietary evolution technologies facilitate the optimization of genes to
develop products for the pharmaceutical, agricultural, chemical processing,
and industrial markets.
Within these broad markets, the Company is targeting
key multi-billion dollar market segments where the Company believes its
technologies and products will create high value and competitive advantages
for strategic partners and customers.
The Company’s strategic partners are
market leaders and include Aventis Animal Nutrition S.A., Celanese Ltd.,
Celera Genomics, The Dow Chemical Company, GlaxoSmithKline plc, Invitrogen
Corporation, and Syngenta Agribusiness Biotechnology Research, Inc.
The
Company has also formed joint ventures with The Dow Chemical Company (named
Innovase LLC) and with Syngenta Seeds AG (named Zymetrics, Inc.).
Additional
information is available at Diversa’s website:
www.diversa.com.

Statements in this press release that are not strictly historical are
“forward-looking” and involve a high degree of risk and uncertainty.
These
include statements related to the utility of P. fumarii in the discovery of
thermostable agricultural and industrial products, the expected
thermostability and novelty of gene products from P. fumarii, and the utility
of the Streptomyces diversa(TM) genome to enable faster discovery and
development of novel molecules of pharmaceutical interest from Diversa’s
PathwayLibrary(TM) collections, all of which are prospective.
Such statements
are only predictions, and the actual events or results may differ materially
from those projected in such forward-looking statements.
Factors that could
cause or contribute to differences include, but are not limited to, risks
involved with Diversa’s new and uncertain technologies, risks associated with
Diversa’s dependence on patents and proprietary rights, risks associated with
Diversa’s protection and enforcement of its patents and proprietary rights,
Diversa’s dependence on existing collaborations, the development or
availability of competitive products or technologies, and the future ability
of Diversa to enter into and/or maintain collaboration and joint venture
agreements.
These factors and others are more fully described in Diversa’s
filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including, but not
limited to, Diversa’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December
31, 2000.
These forward-looking statements speak only as of the date hereof.
Diversa expressly disclaims any intent or obligation to update these
forward-looking statements.

Note:
PathwayLibrary(TM), Streptomyces diversa(TM), and Diversa are U.S.
trademarks of Diversa Corporation.

For further information, please contact Hillary Theakston, Investor
Relations of Diversa, +1-858-526-5121; or Virginia Amann of Atkins &
Associates, +1-858-860-0266, for Diversa.

SpaceRef staff editor.