19-Sep-2001 - MediGene AG

Broad US-patent issued to MediGene

Patent protects novel methods for production of therapeutic viruses

The German-American biopharmaceutical company MediGene (NMarkt: MDG) announced today a significant addition to its intellectual property portfolio with the grant of US-Patent US 6,277,621. This patent gives MediGene broad protection covering the use of bacterial artificial chromosomes (BAC) for generating recombinant viruses for research and therapeutic purposes. For instance, with the help of BACs the DNA of the virus can be modified, propagated and used for the production of both oncolytic viruses and gene shuttles. Many diseases, such as cancer diseases, are associated with acquired genetic defects leading to deregulation or loss of gene function. MediGene’s scientists are currently developing two ways of treating these genetic defects with the help of therapeutic viruses: on the one hand certain modified viruses can be used to destroy tumor cells without harming healthy tissue (oncolytic viruses). On the other hand virus shells carrying therapeutic genes (gene shuttles) can replace disease-related gene functions. These gene shuttles (e.g. MediGene’s HSV-amplicons) can be delivered to the patients’ cells in a safe and effective manner. Currently, MediGene is applying the BAC technology to its proprietary oncolytic herpes simplex virus (HSV) programs to treat cancer diseases such as brain cancers and liver metastases. In addition, the BAC technology is also being used to generate the HSV amplicon gene shuttles. As the BAC technology has wide-ranging applications for generating many types of modified viruses, it can also be used as a research tool. Modified viruses generated by utilizing the BAC technology may be used to identify functions of unknown genes (functional genomics) as well as for the development of vaccines. “The BAC technology described in this patent has enormous potential, both for generating new therapeutic viruses and for producing DNA that can be used as a direct therapeutic agent, explains Frank Tufaro, Ph.D., Managing Director of MediGene, Inc. “This technology will likely be of interest to many companies working in the area of viral oncolytics, gene therapy and vaccines.” Dr. Peter Heinrich, MediGene’s CEO adds: “The BAC patent is an important asset to MediGene which not only adds new therapeutic options to the existing in-house portfolio but also provides licensing opportunities to the pharmaceutical and biotech industries.” In addition to the recently issued patent, the company’s strong patent portfolio contains numerous issued international and US-patents in the field of cancer therapeutics and cardiology covering NCEs, therapeutic viruses and gene transfer technologies. Furthermore additional international patent applications for the protection of its products and platform technologies are pending.

Facts, background information, dossiers
  • viruses
  • MediGene
  • diseases
  • oncolytic viruses
  • genes
  • vaccines
  • genomics
  • gene transfer
  • gene therapy
  • chromosomes
  • cardiology
  • brain cancer
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