22nd Century Group Announces Allowance of U.S. Patent for MPO Nicotine Biosynthesis Gene

  22nd Century Group Announces Allowance of U.S. Patent for MPO Nicotine
  Biosynthesis Gene

Business Wire

CLARENCE, N.Y. -- January 3, 2013

22nd Century Group, Inc. (OTCBB: XXII), a company that has developed
groundbreaking technology for tobacco harm reduction and smoking cessation
products, today announced that the United States Patent and Trademark Office
(USPTO) has issued a Notice of Allowance for the N-methylputrescine oxidase
(MPO) gene technology. MPO is essential for production of nicotine in the
tobacco plant.

The allowed claims of Patent Application No. 12/305,483, entitled, NUCLEIC
ACID ENCODING N-METHYLPUTRESCINE OXIDASE AND USES THEREOF, cover nucleic acids
encoding MPO, methods for producing tobacco plants with either reduced or
increased nicotine levels, and tobacco cells and tobacco plants produced by
the foregoing. The Notice of Allowance was issued on December 24, 2012 to the
National Research Council Canada (NRC). 22nd Century is NRC’s exclusive
worldwide licensee of MPO and other technologies. A patent will be issued by
the USPTO within the next few months. Including the patent term adjustment,
this U.S. patent will expire in December 2027 and will be the first MPO gene
patent issued anywhere in the world.

The MPO gene encodes a protein involved in a key step of nicotine
biosynthesis. Scientists have attempted to clone the MPO gene for decades. MPO
expression can be either down-regulated or up-regulated to produce tobacco
plant varieties and tobacco products with a wide range of nicotine levels
(from very low to high), or altered ratios of nicotine and other nicotinic
alkaloids such as anatabine and nornicotine. Dr. Jonathon Page and Enwu Liu of
the NRC Plant Biotechnology Institute are the inventors of the MPO technology.
22nd Century funded subject patent and research and development expenses at
NRC from 2006 to 2008. Patent Application PCT/IB2007/003550 is the related
international application to U.S. Patent Application No. 12/305,483.

22nd Century’s vice president of research and development, Dr. Michael
Moynihan stated, “We are very pleased that the USPTO has allowed the MPO
patent. The MPO gene technology is one of several 22nd Century patent families
representing our second-generation gene technology for modifying the content
of nicotine and other nicotinic alkaloids in the tobacco plant. Our
second-generation technology has significant advantages over our first
generation technology.”

Upon this MPO patent issuing, 22nd Century will have a portfolio of 15 issued
U.S. patents and 8 pending U.S. patent applications. Globally, 22nd Century
owns or is the exclusive licensee of 107 issued patents in 78 countries plus
an additional 38 pending patent applications – mainly related to all of the
key nicotine biosynthesis genes and potential modified risk tobacco products
produced therefrom.

For additional information, please visit: www.xxiicentury.com.

Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements: This press release
contains forward-looking information, including all statements that are not
statements of historical fact regarding the intent, belief or current
expectations of 22nd Century Group, Inc., its directors or its officers with
respect to the contents of this press release. The words “may,” “would,”
“will,” “expect,” “estimate,” “anticipate,” “believe,” “intend” and similar
expressions and variations thereof are intended to identify forward-looking
statements. We cannot guarantee future results, levels of activity or
performance. You should not place undue reliance on these forward-looking
statements, which speak only as of the date that they were made. These
cautionary statements should be considered with any written or oral
forward-looking statements that we may issue in the future. Except as required
by applicable law, including the securities laws of the United States, we do
not intend to update any of the forward-looking statements to conform these
statements to reflect actual results, later events or circumstances or to
reflect the occurrence of unanticipated events. You should carefully review
and consider the various disclosures made by us in our annual report on Form
10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2011, filed on April 16, 2012,
including the section entitled “Risk Factors,” and our other reports filed
with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission which attempt to advise
interested parties of the risks and factors that may affect our business,
financial condition, results of operation and cash flows. If one or more of
these risks or uncertainties materialize, or if the underlying assumptions
prove incorrect, our actual results may vary materially from those expected or
projected.

Contact:

Redington, Inc.
Tom Redington, 203-222-7399
 
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