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TARGETECH'S TECHNOLOGY ABLE TO EFFECTIVELY DELIVER ANTISENSE DNA IN HEPATITIS B STUDY; UCONN STUDY IN JOURNAL OF BIOLOGICAL CHEMISTRY

TARGETECH'S TECHNOLOGY ABLE TO EFFECTIVELY DELIVER ANTISENSE DNA IN
 HEPATITIS B STUDY; UCONN STUDY IN JOURNAL OF BIOLOGICAL CHEMISTRY
 MERIDEN, Conn., June 25 /PRNewswire/ -- TargeTech's liver-targeting technology combined with antisense DNA demonstrates effectiveness in laboratory studies against hepatitis B, University of Connecticut Health Center scientists reported. In the studies, published today in the Journal of Biological Chemistry (JBC), antisense DNA delivered with TargeTech's technology virtually eliminated the activity and replication of the hepatitis B virus.
 "These studies define a new approach of treating hepatitis B infection that combines the exquisite specificity of antisense with our technology for targeting genetic material to the liver," said Henry L. Nordhoff, president and chief executive officer of TargeTech. "The liver targeting system greatly enhances the transport of the DNA into the cell, resulting in significantly increased antiviral activity than was achieved with antisense DNA alone. Based on this work we are moving forward with the development of an antisense DNA therapy for hepatitis B."
 In the JBC study, the researchers compared the ability of liver- targeted antisense DNA in TargeTech's receptor-mediated delivery system to antisense DNA alone to inhibit the function of the hepatitis B virus in cells with an established infection. The cells treated with antisense DNA in TargeTech's system showed an 80 percent decrease in hepatitis B viral activity after one day of exposure. By seven days, there was a 95 percent inhibition in viral activity. In the control group treated with antisense DNA alone, no significant effect occurred until the third day, when viral activity decreased by 30 percent. The results also demonstrate that the targeted antisense DNA was taken in by the liver cells at a rate 10 times faster than antisense DNA alone.
 The research was conducted by Drs. George and Catherine Wu, associated professors in the university's Department of Medicine, who have pioneered the development of the liver-targeting technique. Both researchers are scientific founders of TargeTech. The research was supported in part by TargeTech, Inc., which holds an exclusive worldwide license to the antisense DNA and liver-targeting technology from the University of Connecticut.
 The liver-targeting technology involves linking DNA to a soluble conjugate that binds specifically to a receptor protein found only on liver cells. The receptor, called the asialoglycoprotein receptor, facilitates entry of the complex into the cell.
 Antisense DNA is a single-stranded fragment of synthetic genetic material made complementary to an RNA strand the encodes a specific protein. The antisense DNA acts by inhibiting the production of viral proteins necessary for viral activity. Hepatitis B is a serious, potentially life-threatening viral infection that affects the liver. Hepatitis B affects over 300,000 individuals in the United States each year. The worldwide potential market for an effective treatment is estimated to exceed $1 billion.
 "With these studies, the potential of the core liver-targeting technology has been demonstrated in modulating the expression of harmful genes as well as


in delivering therapeutically important genes to supply essential proteins," said Nordhoff.
 In previous studies, the university researchers, along with other academic collaborators, demonstrated the feasibility of the targeting technology for developing gene therapy products that can be administered as traditional injectable pharmaceuticals. For example, studies published in the Jan. 15, 1992, issue of the Journal of Biological Chemistry demonstrated in an animal mode of hypercholesterolemia that injection of the gene for the low-density lipoprotein (LDL) receptor produces temporal reductions in LDL and total cholesterol levels.
 TargeTech, Inc. is developing and commercializing injectable gene therapies based on its novel receptor-targeting technology. The company is based in Meriden.
 -0- 6/25/92
 /CONTACT: Samuel F. McKay, chairman of TargeTech, 203-677-0183, Patrick Keefe, University of Connecticut Health Center, 203-679-2447, or Robert Gottlieb of Feinstein Partners, 617-577-8110, for TargeTech/ CO: TargeTech, Inc. ST: Connecticut IN: MTC SU:


TM -- NE005 -- 3698 06/25/92 10:55 EDT
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Date:Jun 25, 1992
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