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VIAGENE SIGNS AGREEMENT WITH WALTER REED TO DEVELOP VACCINES AGAINST MALARIA AND OTHER INFECTIOUS DISEASES

VIAGENE SIGNS AGREEMENT WITH WALTER REED TO DEVELOP VACCINES AGAINST
 MALARIA AND OTHER INFECTIOUS DISEASES
 SAN DIEGO, Aug. 4 /PRNewswire/ -- Viagene, Inc., today announced it has signed a cooperative research and development agreement (CRADA) with the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research to develop vaccines against malaria and other infectious diseases based on Viagene's proprietary gene transfer technology. This project is believed to be the first application of retroviral gene transfer to the prevention of a parasitic disease.
 Viagene's retroviral vector technology delivers into cells genes that produce antigen proteins intracellularly, resulting in a stimulation of the body's immune system to produce disease-specific, CD8+ cytoxic T-lymphocytes (CTL's). The first target of this agreement is malaria, a disease of worldwide importance and one in which the U.S. Army's Walter Reed Army Institute of Research has significant, long-term research experience.
 Under the agreement, Viagene will provide Walter Reed Army Institute of Research with its proprietary retroviral vectors for the purpose of introducing into laboratory grown cells genes from the parasite that causes malaria. The Walter Reed Army Institute of Research will provide these genes and test the efficacy of the product in laboratory and animal models. Viagene receives the exclusive right to license any technology arising out of the agreement.
 "This agreement allows Viagene to extend the use of its proprietary gene transfer technology to a new and challenging area -- the prevention of parasitic disease," said Robert T. Abbott, Ph.D., president and CEO of Viagene. "This is another example of how rapidly the field of gene transfer technology is evolving. A significant factor in Viagene's decision to enter into this agreement is the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research's international reputation for leadership in malarial research."
 Lt. Col. W. Ripley Ballou, M.D., chairman of the Department of Immunology, Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, will serve as the Institute's principal investigator for the CRADA; Douglas J. Jolly, Ph.D., director of research at Viagene, will serve as the company's principal investigator.
 Viagene is a private biopharmaceutical company located in San Diego that is pursuing the discovery, development, and manufacture of gene transfer drugs for the treatment of severe viral infections, cancers and other diseases. Viagene recently received FDA clearance to begin clinical trials of the first gene-based therapeutic for AIDS.
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 /CONTACT: Robert T. Abbott, president and CEO of Viagene, 619-452-1288, or Anthony J. Russo of Noonan/Russo Communications, 212-979-9180, for Viagene/ CO: Viagene, Inc.; Walter Reed Army Institute of Research ST: California IN: MTC SU:


SM-TS -- NY017 -- 6533 08/04/92 09:44 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Aug 4, 1992
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