Healthcare Industry News: spinal cord injury
News Release - November 6, 2006
Geron Licenses Antigen Targeting Patents for Cancer Vaccine Program from Immunomic TherapeuticsMENLO PARK, Calif., & GAITHERSBURG, Md.--(HSMN NewsFeed)--Geron Corporation (Nasdaq:GERN ) and Immunomic Therapeutics Inc. (ITI) announced today a patent license agreement under which Geron will receive exclusive rights to the LAMP antigen targeting sequence for use in cancer vaccines.
Geron's therapeutic cancer vaccine, GRNVAC1, triggers an immune response against the universal cancer antigen, telomerase, and uses the LAMP sequence to enhance that immune response. The LAMP technology was invented at Johns Hopkins University and recently licensed to ITI for all applications.
Under the ITI-Geron license, Geron receives worldwide exclusive rights to the Johns Hopkins LAMP patents for cancer vaccines directed to telomerase as well as two additional antigen targets to be selected by Geron at a later date. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
"GRNVAC1 has demonstrated tolerability and immunogenicity in a Phase I/II clinical trial in metastatic prostate cancer," said Thomas B. Okarma, Ph.D., M.D., Geron's president and CEO. "In addition, results from this trial suggest that the use of the LAMP signal sequence may help to enhance the already potent immune responses seen with telomerase alone. We are pleased to secure rights for the use of the LAMP sequence in GRNVAC1 and future cancer vaccine products."
The LAMP sequence causes an antigen to which it is attached to be taken up by the lysosomal subcellular compartment of the cell. This has been shown to increase presentation on MHC class II molecules, which in turn, can produce greater CD4+ T-cell responses against the antigen and a more potent and longer lasting overall immune response. A Phase I/II clinical trial of Geron's GRNVAC1 telomerase cancer vaccine conducted at Duke University has previously shown that addition of the LAMP sequence to the telomerase antigen increased patient CD4+ T-cell responses and improved cytotoxic T-lymphocyte (CTL) mediated killing of cancer cells.
GRNVAC1 is comprised of autologous dendritic cells loaded with telomerase mRNA linked to a LAMP targeting sequence. In March 2005, results of the first completed Phase I/II clinical trial of GRNVAC1 in metastatic prostate cancer patients were published in the Journal of Immunology (JI, 2005, 174:3798-38097).
Geron is a Menlo Park, Calif.-based biopharmaceutical company that is developing and intends to commercialize first-in-class therapeutic products for the treatment of cancer and degenerative diseases, including spinal cord injury, heart failure, diabetes and HIV/AIDS. The products are based on Geron's core expertise in telomerase and human embryonic stem cells. For more information, visit www.geron.com.
Immunomic Therapeutics Inc. (ITI) is a privately held biotechnology company headquartered in Gaithersburg, Md., that is commercializing a portfolio of clinical applications based on LAMP vaccine technology. ITI offers access to LAMP-based vectors and novel vaccine design through license and collaborative research agreements. More information about ITI and LAMP technology can be obtained from www.immunomix.com or www.immunomictherapeutics.com.
This news release may contain forward-looking statements made pursuant to the "safe harbor" provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Investors are cautioned that such forward-looking statements in this press release regarding potential applications of Geron's telomerase and cancer vaccine technology constitute forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties, including, without limitation, risks inherent in the development and commercialization of potential products, uncertainty of clinical trial results or regulatory approvals or clearances, need for future capital, dependence upon collaborators and maintenance of our intellectual property rights. Actual results may differ materially from the results anticipated in these forward-looking statements. Additional information on potential factors that could affect our results and other risks and uncertainties are detailed from time to time in Geron's periodic reports, including the quarterly report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended September 30, 2006.
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