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ORTHO PHARMACEUTICAL LICENSES CONTRACEPTIVE VACCINE FROM VIRGINIA'S CENTER FOR INNOVATIVE TECHNOLOGY; VACCINE DEVELOPED BY UVA RESEARCHER

ORTHO PHARMACEUTICAL LICENSES CONTRACEPTIVE VACCINE FROM VIRGINIA'S CENTER FOR INNOVATIVE TECHNOLOGY; VACCINE DEVELOPED BY UVA RESEARCHER
 /ADVANCE/ RARITAN, N.J., Jan. 20 /PRNewswire/ -- Virginia's Center for Innovative Technology (CIT) and Ortho Pharmaceutical Corporation today announced a licensing agreement for a contraceptive vaccine for women that prevents sperm from fertilizing an egg. The vaccine was developed by John Herr of the University of Virginia. A research team at the University of Virginia Center for Recombinant Gamete Contraceptive Vaccinogens will continue study of the contraceptive with funds provided by The R.W. Johnson Pharmaceutical Research Institute, the research arm of Ortho.
 "Contraceptive vaccines are of continued interest to the scientific community," according to Herr, associate professor of anatomy and cell biology at University of Virginia School of Medicine. "Nearly universal acceptance of vaccines and ease of administration suggest that a contraceptive vaccine would offer effective, reliable birth control and fit into various world cultures."
 "Our involvement with the contraceptive vaccine underscores our continued commitment to researching new birth control options for women," explained Eric Milledge, president, Ortho Pharmaceutical Corporation. "We believe that we must support research that will lead to more contraceptive methods for women throughout the world."
 "This agreement," explained former Virginia Gov. Linwood Holton, president of CIT, "is an example of how CIT creates partnerships between universities and industry. The commercialization of this technology brings needed funds to the university and to the commonwealth."
 A Vaccine Against Sperm Protein Molecule
 The vaccine works by stimulating a woman's immune system, causing it to develop antibodies to a protein molecule that appears on the head of a sperm at a crucial point in its sexual maturity. The antibodies bind with sperm and destroy their ability to fertilize the egg. The research team has demonstrated that the protein molecule could be present in all human sperm, suggesting that the new vaccine could be universally effective and would not cause adverse immune reactions. The contraceptive would be administered by pill or injection, and its effect may last anywhere from two to five years. Under the licensing agreement, University of Virginia scientists will continue testing the vaccine on baboons, and it could be ready for human tests within two years.
 Ortho Pharmaceutical Corporation, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson based in Raritan, is the acknowledged world leader in contraceptive technology and a committed partner in women's health care. The R.W. Johnson Pharmaceutical Research Institute, which funded Herr's work, is a worldwide research and development organization serving Ortho Pharmaceutical, McNeil Pharmaceutical, Ortho Biotech and Cilag, subsidiaries of Johnson & Johnson. For more than 50 years, Ortho has brought a variety of birth control products to the marketplace. These include the leading oral contraceptive, the most widely prescribed diaphragm and the leading spermicidal creams, foams and vaginal suppositories.
 The Center for Innovative Technology is a private non-profit corporation created by the Virginia General Assembly in 1984 to increase and enhance the state's technological competitiveness. Its mission is to promote the state's economic growth through technological development and commercialization.
 -0- 1/21/92
 /CONTACT: Michael Gleason of the Center for Innovative Technology, 703-689-3013; Marguerite Beck of the University of Virginia News Office, 804-924-1501; or Rich Salem of Ortho Pharmaceutical Corporation, 908-218-6136/ CO: Center for Innovative Technology; Ortho Pharmaceutical
 Corporation; Johnson & Johnson ST: New Jersey; Virginia IN: MTC SU:


DC-MH -- DC010 -- 1485 01/20/92 15:07 EST
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Date:Jan 20, 1992
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