April 18, 2012 at 08:45 AM EDT
Rosetta Green Announces That it Has Successfully Completed an Experiment Producing Human Growth Hormone From Algae
  • Growth hormone is used as a prescription drug to treat children's growth disorders and adult natural growth hormone deficiency.
  • Protein production using microalgae may reduce the high cost of manufacturing using currently available methods.

REHOVOT, Israel, April 18, 2012 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Rosetta Green Ltd. (TASE:RSTG), which specializes in crop improvement for the agriculture and alternative fuel industries using unique genes called microRNAs, has successfully completed an experiment producing human growth hormone and validated its biological activity. Proteins produced by both treated and control algae were tested with an in vitro activity test assay by an independent third party using the conventional proliferation method. The activity test assay found that Rosetta Green's treated algae exhibited hormonal activity.

The project is part of a joint European effort to manufacture chemicals and proteins in algae, which is implemented and funded by the European Union as part of the European Commission's Seventh Framework Program for Research and Technology Development (FP7), at an estimated 7 million USD, with over ten European organizations participating, including companies and leading universities. The project is managed by Professor Sammy Boussiba of the Microalgal Biotechnology Laboratory of Ben Gurion University of the Negev.

Rosetta Green focuses on using microalgae to develop and produce human proteins for therapeutics, a process that reduces the currently steep drug production costs associated with using mostly mammalian cells and bacteria.

Amir Avniel, Rosetta Green's CEO: "Algae may be an effective source for the production of proteins and vaccines. Rosetta Green has vast experience working with molecular methods in algae. The company worked on the development of designated algae in order to produce the protein in cooperation with the EU. Algae can be used for multiple applications such as producing chemicals, industrial food supplements, bio fuel and food. We believe that the technology that we develop provides significant advantage to improve various traits in plants and algae. We continually seek partners to develop our products and technologies. This discovery adds to the recent news of the two strategic agreements signed with global giant corporations in the chemical and seed sectors to develop improved corn and cotton seeds."

Growth hormone is a peptide hormone secreted by the pituitary gland. Among its functions are the regulation of protein production and the stimulation of bone growth in children. Growth hormone is normally secreted throughout a person's life, but the amount decreases by 14% every decade after the age of 211. A deficiency in this hormone is known to cause growth block, short stature and dwarfism. Currently, growth hormone is produced by major multi-nationals such as Pfizer, Lilly and Merck Serono.

Growth hormone is used as a prescription medicine to treat children with growth problems and adults with hormone deficiency as well as other symptoms characterized by growth complications. In addition, growth hormone has been shown to be effective for anti-aging treatments and body fat reduction. Total annual sales of human growth hormone are estimated at approximately 3 Billion USD2.

Growth hormone is administered today primarily through daily injections over several years. The accumulated cost can reach hundreds of thousands of USD per child. Rosetta Green believes that manufacturing the hormone using microalgae will likely reduce today's high cost of production, which relies upon currently available techniques.

Microalgae are a promising source for the production of a variety of biological materials for industrial purposes. One of the prominent advantages of using algae as a biological platform for protein expression stems from the fact that their growth takes place in sterile containers that minimize the risk of culture contamination and eliminate harmful pathogens.

In the near term, the Company intends to further test purified and concentrated protein activity in clinical trials in mice.

Financial support by the European Commission's Seventh Framework Program for Research and Technology Development (FP7), project GIAVAP, Grant Nr. 266401, is gratefully acknowledged.

About Rosetta Green

Rosetta Green (TASE:RSTG) is an Israeli biotech company specializing in the development of improved plant traits and in the production of human proteins from algae using its gene database of microRNAs for the agriculture, biofuels and supplements industries. The company's unique technology is applied to improve seed quality, which increases agricultural crop yield, and algae. Rosetta Green's product development pipeline includes plants with improved traits, such as increased yield production, improved disease resistance, and the production of additional human proteins in algae. One such example is erythropoietin (EPO), which is a medicine to treat anemia, and α-galactosidase A, which is used to treat Fabry disease. For additional details please visit the Company's website: www.rosettagreen.com

The information herein contains "forward-looking statements." It is possible that the final results of plant or algae improvement capabilities using Rosetta Green's technology will be significantly different from the preliminary results achieved in the initial experiments describe herein. Additionally, it is possible that results attained in target plants or algae will be significantly different from the results reported herein. Moreover, there is no certainty that the final products containing the Company's technologies will be developed, manufactured and traded by the Company or its partners.

The Rosetta Green logo is available at http://www.globenewswire.com/newsroom/prs/?pkgid=8831

1http://www.femalemuscle.com/nutrition/hgh.html

2http://www.bio-pro.de/standort/unternehmen_bw/index.html?lang=en&artikelid=/artikel/07154/index.html

CONTACT: Limor Zur-Stoller, CFO
         Limor.stoller@rosettagreen.com
         Rudy Maor, CTO
         Rudy.maor@rosettagreen.com
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