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Viragen granted interferon patent.

Viragen, Inc. (Plantation, FL; 954-233-8746) announced it has been granted United States Patent 6,350,589 from the United States Patent and Trademark Office for a process relating to the manufacture of human natural alpha interferon from human white blood cells. Human alpha interferon is a naturally occurring protein which serves to enhance the body's immune response to viral infections.

The patent, "Compositions of Highly-Purified Natural Mixtures of Type I Interferon Derived from Leukocytes and Methods", became effective February 26, 2002. The abstract states, "This invention relates to methods for isolating highly-purified mixtures of natural type I interferons from white blood cells. The invention also relates to highly-purified mixtures of natural type I interferons which resemble natural type I interferon in that it includes 9 subtypes."

Viragen's Chairman and CEO, Mr. Gerald Smith stated, "This patent is in addition to our existing portfolio of interferon-related intellectual property. Our human leukocyte interferon has been approved by the Swedish regulatory authorities as an alternative therapy for patients afflicted with any disease that fail or cannot tolerate recombinant (synthetic) interferon regimens." Alpha interferon is used to treat patients suffering from many types of viral and malignant diseases such as chronic hepatitis C and certain cancers. The global interferon market is currently estimated to be approaching $3 billion per year.

Viragen produces its highly purified, multi-subtype natural alpha interferon from human white blood cells, a key part of the body's immune system. Natural interferon is one of the body's natural defensive responses to foreign substances such as viruses, and is so named because it "interferes" with viral growth. Viragen believes its natural interferon is immunologically virtually indistinguishable from the interferon produced by one's own body in response to a viral infection. In contrast, recombinant interferons, which currently dominate the interferon market, are genetically engineered and are sometimes recognized as "foreign" by the body's immune system. This may result in the formation of neutralizing antibodies which can reduce the effectiveness of treatment and/or cause adverse side-effects. Also, recombinant interferons usually contain only one subtype of interferon as compared to multiple subtypes produced by human white blood cells.

Viragen also holds the worldwide exclusive license to commercialize Avian Transgenic Technology granted by Roslin Institute (Scotland), internationally renowned for their creation of "Dolly the Sheep". The project is designed to substitute chicken eggs for very expensive vessels presently used in the manufacture of protein-based drugs. Upon its successful development, flocks of specially produced chickens would lay virtually unlimited numbers of eggs expressing high volumes of the target drug in egg white. This technology is designed not only to produce Viragen's portfolio of anti-cancer drugs, but also to address the urgent drug production needs of the entire biopharmaceutical industry by promising a much faster, cost-effective and virtually unlimited production process.

Viragen also researches, develops and manufactures human monoclonal antibodies for the treatment of life-threatening diseases, particularly cancer. Viragen's oncology projects include collaborations with the United States National Institutes of Health, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and the United Kingdom's Cancer Research Campaign. Viragen holds the worldwide exclusive license to commercialize the drugs produced via the NIH, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and Cancer Research Campaign collaborations.
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Title Annotation:Will produce human natural alpha interferon from human white blood cells
Comment:Viragen granted interferon patent.(Will produce human natural alpha interferon from human white blood cells)
Publication:BIOTECH Patent News
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 1, 2002
Words:527
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