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Monday, January 2, 2012

Multiple Sclerosis: A Message to Ann Romney

Dear Ms. Romney,

Yesterday, I read Jennifer Rubin's "Right Turn" blog in The Washington Post, entitled "Ann Romney on her husband and the race, the second time around" (http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/right-turn/post/ann-romney-on-her-husband-and-the-race-the-second-time-around/2012/01/02/gIQA3l3gWP_blog.html), in which Ms. Rubin described her telephone interview with you. I was impressed by your wisdom and political maturity, as best exemplified by your declaration:

“We understand there are a lot of things that are out of our control. We are who we are.”

Ms. Rubin also alluded in her column to your observations regarding your ongoing struggle with multiple sclerosis:

"But of course her own health issues provide a constant connection to voters. She said that on the campaign trail, 'Everywhere I go people come up asking about MS.' As first lady, she would 'have a huge concern about bringing attention to and provide funding to find a cure for MS.'"

I would like to bring to your attention the efforts of an Israeli biotechnology company named Compugen, a world leader in the predictive computerized discovery of new therapeutics, which specializes in the fields of immunology and oncology. In October 2011, Compugen participated in the 2nd International Conference on Immune Tolerance in Amsterdam, during which Joseph Podojil, Ph.D. of the Feinberg School of Medicine Northwestern University, presented for the first time scientific data pertaining to CGEN-15001. CGEN-15001 is a novel protein drug candidate consisting of the extracellular region of CGEN-15001T, a previously unknown membrane protein predicted by Compugen to be a member of the B7/CD28-family, fused to a mouse antibody Fc domain. At that time, Compugen reported in a press release (http://www.cgen.com/Content.aspx?Page=press_releases&NewsId=571):

"Dr. Podojil presented data demonstrating that administration of CGEN-15001 in the experimental autoimmune encephalitis (EAE) animal model of multiple sclerosis (MS) resulted in a dramatic improvement of disease symptoms and abolishment of spontaneous relapses. In addition, the study results demonstrated that short-term treatment with CGEN-15001 led to long-term inhibition of disease symptoms as well as of the underlying spread of pathological immune responses."

In short, although there can be no certainty that CGEN-15001 or any of the other B7/CD28-like proteins discovered through use of Compugen’s Protein Family Members Discovery Platform will ultimately result in a cure for MS, the preclinical results for CGEN-15001 as well as for CGEN-15021 and CGEN-15091 (see: http://www.cgen.com/Content.aspx?Page=press_releases&NewsId=562) certainly provide hope.

Should you need additional information concerning Compugen's efforts, do not hesitate to contact me.

Meanwhile, please stay healthy as you and your husband navigate the trials and tribulations of the Republican primaries. I admire your courage.

Best,
Jeffrey

[As noted in prior blog entries, I am a Compugen shareholder, this blog entry is not a recommendation to buy or sell Compugen shares, and in September 2009 I began work as a part-time external consultant to Compugen. The opinions expressed herein are mine and are based on publicly available information. This blog entry has not been authorized, approved or reviewed prior to posting by Compugen.]

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