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Vical obtains angiogenesis patent.

Vical, Inc. (San Diego; 858-646-1127) announced the issuance of United States Patent 6,228,844, which covers naked DNA delivery of Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF) to the heart to promote the growth of blood vessels, called angiogenesis. Vical has more than 400 issued or pending patents worldwide, with broad coverage in the field of naked DNA gene transfer for both DNA vaccination and gene-based protein delivery. This new patent adds depth in the specific area of angiogenesis using naked DNA delivery of growth factors in the VEGF family.

Vical's President and Chief Executive Officer, Vijay B. Samant, said, "We are pleased to enhance our broad coverage of naked DNA with this specific patent in the dynamic field of angiogenesis. Much of the pioneering work in angiogenesis has been based on naked DNA, and we look forward to further development in this promising application of our technology."

Angiogenesis is a potential method for treating disease characterized by a loss of blood flow. The treatment involves localized delivery of growth factors which may stimulate the growth of new blood vessels. The newly formed blood vessels may restore blood flow to the affected areas. This treatment may be applicable in ischemic diseases such as coronary artery disease. Naked DNA delivery of angiogenic growth factors may be particularly attractive, since it provides prolonged production of the growth factor proteins at the site where they are needed, with a limited amount of protein escaping from that site.

Vical's novel method for delivering genes into cells in the body is different from current approaches because it causes the cells to produce a desired protein rather than delivering the protein itself. Naked DNA is different from other gene-based delivery techniques because it doesn't use viruses to deliver the genetic material -- the genes are "virus-bare." Because naked DNA delivery does not involve administration of potentially infectious viruses, it avoids any negative side effects typically associated with viral-based delivery methods, and does not cause an immune response that may prevent repeat administration.

Vical is focused on the development of pharmaceutical product candidates based on its patented gene delivery technology. A number of therapeutic and vaccine product candidates are currently under development for the prevention or treatment of cancer, infectious diseases and metabolic disorders by Vical and its collaborative partners, including Merck & Co., Pfizer Inc., Aventis Pasteur, Aventis Pharma, Human Genome Sciences, Centocor Inc., Merial and Boston Scientific Corporation. Allovectin-7, which uses a lipid-DNA complex to help the immune system recognize and attack cancer cells, is in Phase II and Phase III testing in certain patients with metastatic melanoma and in Phase II testing in patients with head and neck cancer. Leuvectin, which uses a lipid-DNA complex to stimulate an immune response against cancer cells, is in Phase II testing in patients with prostate cancer. Vaxid, a naked DNA vaccine to prevent relapse of B-cell lymphoma, is in Phase I/II testing. In collaboration with the National Cancer Institute, a naked DNA vaccine to treat metastatic melanoma is in Phase I/II testing.
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Publication:BIOTECH Patent News
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:May 1, 2001
Words:504
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