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Advanced Therapies, Inc. receives CF Foundation grant to study artificial viral envelopes; locates operations in Novato.

NOVATO, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--May 15, 1995--Advanced Therapies, Inc., today announced that the company has received a two-year grant from the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation to develop gene therapy products based on its proprietary artificial viral envelope (AVE) technology, a promising new drug delivery approach.

The grant was originally awarded to Dr. Hans Schreier at the Center for Lung Research, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, where he was conducting his pioneering work on the development and application of AVE constructs. Schreier cofounded Advanced Therapies, Inc. to commercialize the AVE core technology and requested that the grant be transferred to the new company. The foundation approved the transfer of the $172,000 grant, originally awarded in January, to the California company.

"We are using the grant to design novel aerosol gene products based on the AVE technology and to more completely understand the way in which AVEs enter target cells, traffic within the cells and how the cells process and eliminate foreign genes," Schreier, who now is principal scientist of the company, said. "AVEs are very versatile and can convey a broad range of therapeutic entities to specific cells, including large molecular weight substances such as proteins, genes and oligonucleotides. These viral mimicking agents may be useful in the treatment of a wide range of cancers, infectious diseases and genetic diseases, including metabolic genetic disorders such as cystic fibrosis."

Artificial viral envelopes are fully synthetic constructs which mimic the unrivaled capability of viruses to find, bind to and place their genetic contents inside target cells. The envelopes of naturally occurring viruses are very sophisticated lipid membranes which encapsulate the virus' genetic payload and contain information for targeting specific cell types and achieving cell entry and payload delivery through a fusion mechanism. Advanced Therapies, Inc. has developed an efficient methodology for making AVEs which is protected by U.S. and European patents.

Gary D. Boring, president and chief executive officer, said: "Many effective drugs on the market today or in development produce significant systemic toxicities which could be alleviated by better targeting, and many promising therapeutic entities need assistance in reaching their intracellular site of action. AVEs are versatile in design, manufacture and administration. They are stable and have a long shelf life, and can be given orally, injected, inhaled or applied topically. For example, we have developed a proprietary dry powder aerosol for pulmonary delivery. We believe that the benefits of the current grant will accelerate the pace of potential commercialization of AVEs."

The company also said it has leased facilities in Novato, Calif., for its research, development and preclinical operations. The Bel Marin Keys property was fully developed for a previous biotechnology tenant and is adjacent to additional space for administrative and technical expansion.

Boring, also a founder, said: "We were fortunate to find these facilities which are so well suited to our immediate needs. Our initial mission is to build relationships with pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies in order to develop clinically superior, novel formulations of existing high-value drugs and groundbreaking therapies based on innovative new products. This business focus coupled with the efficiency of our AVE process means our space and other resource requirements will remain modest."

Advanced Therapies, Inc., is a privately-held drug delivery company pioneering a new therapeutic delivery system, Artificial Viral Envelopes (AVEs). By mimicking naturally occurring viral envelopes, AVEs are able to recognize and enter targeted cells with the high selectivity and efficiency of natural viruses. Readily manufactured and capable of being administered via all the major physiologic pathways, AVEs can transport drugs, immunotoxins, proteins, peptides and enzymes as well as gene and gene constructs into cells associated with specific diseases. Advanced Therapies, Inc., is seeking strategic partnerships with pharmaceutical and biotechnology firms for the commercialization of innovative therapies. Founded in 1994, Advanced Therapies, Inc. is headquartered in Novato.

CONTACT: Advanced Therapies, Inc.

Gary D. Boring, 415/712-8334


Russell-Welsh Inc.

Katharine A. Russell, 415/312-0700
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Publication:Business Wire
Date:May 15, 1995
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