New Gene Discovered



Hyseq Announces New Gene Associated with Anti-Inflammatory Activity Hyseq Identifies Second Novel IL-1 Family Member Within a Year


SUNNYVALE, Calif., May 24, 1999 /PRNewswire/ -- Hyseq, Inc. (Nasdaq: HYSQ) today announced a new gene involved in anti-inflammatory activity. This new gene encodes IL-1Hy2 which is a member of the Interleukin-1 (IL-1) family. The announcement follows Hyseq's disclosure in July 1998 of a gene encoding another IL-1 receptor antagonist, IL-1Hy1. These new IL-1 receptor antagonists are believed to be the first members of the IL-1 family to be announced since 1990.

IL-1 and tumor necrosis factor (TNF) are cytokines that have been directly linked to the progression of inflammatory diseases including rheumatoid arthritis and chronic inflammatory bowel diseases, such as Crohn's Disease. Hyseq's IL-1Hy1 and IL-1Hy2 are receptor antagonist family members. Receptor antagonists have been identified with activity that block IL-1 cytokines from binding to cell receptors thereby inhibiting inflammation. Hyseq's IL-1 receptor antagonists are potential therapeutic candidates for inhibiting IL-1 binding activities and arresting inflammatory progression.

"We believe that Hyseq's two IL-1 receptor antagonists strengthen our growing therapeutic candidate portfolio associated with inflammatory diseases," said Lewis Gruber, President and CEO. "Hyseq's grouping of inflammation-related product candidates and targets, including these new IL-1 family members, is helping us to proceed forward with developing therapeutic and diagnostic products for rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory diseases."

"In addition to anti-inflammatory applications of our IL-1 receptor antagonists, we are conducting experiments to identify other possible uses for these novel proteins," stated John Ford, Ph.D., Director of Functional Genomics/Immunology.

Chronic inflammatory diseases represent a serious worldwide health issue. According to industry sources, rheumatoid arthritis affects approximately 2.3 million people in the U.S., and inflammatory bowel disease an additional half million. For the next four years, annual drug sales for chronic inflammatory diseases may reach over $4 billion. The recent FDA approval of Immunex's drug Enbrel(R), a TNF receptor drug, has validated the efficacy of treatments to block cytokine activity associated with inflammation in rheumatoid arthritis.

Hyseq, Inc., based in Sunnyvale, California, is a biopharmaceutical company with a growing pipeline of biopharmaceutical product candidates in its proprietary HyProfile(TM) portfolio. Hyseq offers pharmacogenomics/polymorphism discovery programs, and believes that its fast-growing proprietary HyGenomics(TM) database of partial human DNA sample sequences has the world's largest concentration of rarely expressed genes. In gene chip technology, Hyseq, with its partner PE Corporation offers the only universal sequencing chip through their HyChip(TM) Early Access Program. Information about Hyseq is available on the World Wide Web at or by phoning 408-524-8100.

Statements included in this press release which are not historical in nature, are intended to be, and are hereby identified as "forward-looking statements" for purposes of the safe harbor provided by the Private Securities Litigation Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements may be identified by words including "anticipate," "believe," "intends," "estimates," "expect" and similar expressions. The Company cautions readers that forward-looking statements, including without limitation, those relating to the Company's future business prospects are subject to certain risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those indicated in the forward-looking statements. For a discussion of factors that may cause results to differ, see the Company's reports filed with the SEC, including its Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 1998. Hyseq disclaims any intent or obligation to update these forward-looking statements.

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