updated 11/8/2010 1:46:04 PM ET 2010-11-08T18:46:04

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Nov. 8, 2010 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Momenta Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Nasdaq:MNTA), a biotechnology company specializing in the characterization and engineering of complex mixture drugs, today announced that the scientific journal Nature Biotechnology has published a correspondence entitled "Chinese Hamster Ovary Cells Can Produce Galactose-alpha-1,3-Galactose Antigens on Proteins." The studies, led by scientists at Momenta Pharmaceuticals, demonstrate that Chinese Hamster Ovary (CHO) cells contain the active biosynthetic machinery to produce alpha-Gal antigens and that a therapeutic protein manufactured in CHO contains alpha-Gal. Prior to these findings, it was believed that CHO cells lacked the biosynthetic machinery necessary to synthesize glycoproteins with these carbohydrate antigens. 

CHO cells are widely used for the manufacture of biotherapeutics, in part because of their ability to produce proteins with desirable properties, including "human like" glycosylation profiles. Control of glycosylation is critical when developing biotherapeutics because it can affect protein function including half-life and efficacy. Additionally, specific glycan structures may adversely affect their safety profile. Although the specific levels of alpha-Gal required to trigger allergic reactions such as anaphylaxis are not known and are likely to be product specific, the fact that humans contain high levels of circulating anti-alpha-gal antibodies suggests that controlling the levels of these epitopes during biotherapeutics development may be beneficial to patients.

"We believe that using tools developed at Momenta, it is now possible to monitor and control for the presence of alpha-Gal antigens during protein therapeutics development," commented Ganesh Venkataraman, Ph.D., Chief Scientific Officer at Momenta. "These results are good examples of the potential applications of our technologies to advance product and process understanding to improve the engineering of both biosimilars and novel biologics."

About Momenta

Momenta Pharmaceuticals is a biotechnology company, headquartered in Cambridge, MA, specializing in the detailed structural analysis of complex mixture drugs. Momenta is applying its technology to the development of generic versions of complex drug products, as well as to the discovery and development of novel drugs.

To receive additional information about Momenta, please visit the website at www.momentapharma.com , which does not form a part of this press release.

Our logo, trademarks, and service marks are the property of Momenta Pharmaceuticals, Inc. All other trade names, trademarks, or service marks are property of their respective owners.

Forward-Looking Statements

Statements in this press release regarding management's future expectations, beliefs, intentions, goals, strategies, plans or prospects, including our beliefs regarding the potential development and commercialization opportunities for our programs and product candidates, including follow-on biologic, biosimilar, and novel biologic product candidates, may constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements can be identified by terminology such as "anticipate," "believe," "could," "could increase the likelihood," "hope," "target," "project," "goals," "potential," "predict," "might," "estimate," "expect," "intend," "is planned," "may," "should," "will," "will enable," "would be expected," "look forward," "may provide," "would" or similar terms, variations of such terms or the negative of those terms. Such forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors referred to in the Company's Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended June 30, 2010 filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission under the section "Risk Factors," as well as other documents that may be filed by Momenta from time to time with the Securities and Exchange Commission. As a result of such risks, uncertainties and factors, the Company's actual results may differ materially from any future results, performance or achievements discussed in or implied by the forward-looking statements contained herein. Momenta is providing the information in this press release as of this date and assumes no obligation to update the information included in this press release or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

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