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Heska granted six patents for novel vaccine delivery system, flea allergens and heartworm antigens

Heska Corporation (Ft. Collins, CO; 970-493-7272) announced the recent issuance of six patents by the United States Patent and Trademark Office: one for a novel vaccine delivery system, one for novel flea allergens and four covering novel heartworm antigens.

"The vaccine delivery system patent is the second in Heska's portfolio of patents covering the use of a recombinant canine herpes virus to deliver genes to animals in a safe and effective manner," said Dr. Robert Grieve, Heska's chief scientific officer. "The patent covering novel allergens that cause flea bite allergy in animals is the second United States patent to issue in that portfolio and is relevant to our ongoing efforts of producing flea bite allergy diagnostics, immunotherapeutics and vaccines. In addition, four that cover heartworm antigens are members of Heska's portfolio of proprietary heartworm genes and proteins that may be used in heartworm vaccines currently in development."

The novel delivery system, based on canine herpes virus, is advantageous for the delivery of genes to animals. Canine herpes virus, unlike most herpesviruses, does not cause disease except in very young puppies and is thought to be a safe vehicle for delivery of genes to dogs. In addition, canine herpes virus -based recombinant vaccines allow for the delivery of multiple antigen-encoding genes at one time.

United States Patent 5,804,197, entitled "Recombinant Canine Herpesviruses," issued on September 8, 1998. The patent claims a number of canine herpesvirus genes, in addition to those claimed in United States Patent 5,753,235, which issued earlier this year. Also claimed are recombinant canine herpesvirus vectors and genomes, as well as their use to deliver other genes to a dog. These genes can be expressed as proteins to protect an animal from disease or to otherwise benefit the health of an animal.

Flea bite allergy is one of the most common skin diseases afflicting dogs and cats throughout the world. It is estimated that flea-related problems account for more than fifty percent of the skin disease conditions observed by veterinarians in flea endemic areas.

United States Patent 5,795,862, entitled "Ectoparasite Saliva Proteins and Apparatus to Collect Such Proteins", issued on August 18, 1998. This patent claims novel flea salivary proteins and compositions containing such proteins which Heska has shown induce flea bite allergy in cats and dogs. The HESKA Flea Allergy Dermatitis test conducted at HESKA Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratories is based on these proprietary flea salivary allergens in a unique IgE receptor-based assay to detect flea bite allergy in cats and dogs.

Heartworm infection, caused by the parasite Dirofilaria immitis, is recognized as a cause of serious disease in dogs and cats throughout the world. Although dogs can survive with worms in their hearts and pulmonary arteries for some time, the presence of even one worm in a cat can be deadly. Presently, there is no available commercial vaccine against heartworm infection, and the current control strategies entail chemical prophylaxis for dogs and cats or chemotherapy for dogs.

United States Patent 5,804,200, entitled "Parasitic Nematode Proteins and Vaccines", which issued on September 8, 1998, covers a family of D. immitis proteins that are expressed by heartworm larvae. United States Patent 5,792,624, entitled "Dirofilaria and Onchocerca Larval L3 Cysteine Protease Proteins and Uses Thereof", which issued on August 11, 1998, and United States Patent 5,795,768, entitled "Filariid Nematode Cysteine Protease Proteins, Nucleic Acid Molecules and Uses Thereof", which issued on August 18, 1998, cover D. immitis and Onchocerca volvulus larval cysteine protease proteins and nucleic acid molecules encoding such proteins. O. volvulus is the parasite that causes "river blindness" in humans. Each o f these three patents is co-assigned to Heska and Colorado State University (Ft. Collins, CO). Colorado State has exclusively licensed its rights in these patents to Heska.

United States Patent 5,789,194 entitled "Parasitic Helminth Venom Allergen Antigen 5-Like Genes and Proteins", issued on August 4, 1998. This patent covers nucleic acid molecules that encode D. immitis venom allergen antigen 5-like (VA5) proteins as well as nucleic acid molecules that encode other structurally similar filarid VA5 proteins, including those that encode O. volvulus VA5 proteins. Due to the involvement of the nucleic acid molecules and proteins covered by these four newly issued patents in the life cycle of heartworms, each represents a target for control of heartworm infection.

Heska now holds 26 issued United States patents and 86 pending United States patent applications in areas such as proprietary antigens related to allergy, flea control, heartworm disease and proprietary vaccine delivery technologies. Heska also maintains a corresponding foreign patent portfolio.

Heska discovers, develops, manufactures and markets companion animal health products, primarily for dogs, cats and horses. Heska has a large and sophisticated scientific effort devoted to applying biotechnology to the large and growing companion animal health market. Heska also offers diagnostic and patient monitoring equipment, as well as diagnostic laboratory products in the United States and Europe to veterinarians, and operates United States Department of Agriculture-and Food and Drug Administration-licensed facilities which manufacture vaccine, pharmaceutical and allergy immunotherapy products.
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Publication:BIOTECH Patent News
Article Type:Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 1, 1998
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