SAN DIEGO, March 29 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Vical Incorporated announced today the issuance of two Canadian patents on the company's core technology, which involves direct administration of polynucleotide genetic material such as DNA or RNA. Canadian patents No. 2,425,745 and No. 2,049,287 cover such administration with and without cationic lipids, respectively. Covered uses of the technology include vaccines, therapeutics, and research and development applications.
Vical holds issued U.S. and foreign patents concerning this core technology and related enhancements, applications, and manufacturing processes. A number of vaccine and therapeutic applications of the technology are currently under development by Vical and its collaborative partners, including Merck & Co., Inc., Sanofi-Aventis Group, Merial Ltd. (a joint venture between Merck and Sanofi-Aventis), Corautus Genetics Inc., Aqua Health Ltd. (an affiliate of Novartis Animal Health Inc.), and the U.S. National Institutes of Health.
Vijay B. Samant, President and Chief Executive Officer of Vical, said, "We are pleased to establish broad intellectual property coverage in Canada comparable to our core technology coverage in the United States. These Canadian patents extend our existing and expanding patent estate in another key international region and further validate Vical's global leadership position in non-viral gene delivery."
The key discovery leading to the company's patented core technology was that living tissues can take up polynucleotide genetic material directly, without the use of viral components, and subsequently express the proteins encoded by the genetic material for periods ranging from weeks to more than a year. Application of this technology typically involves designing and constructing closed loops of DNA called plasmids, or pDNAs. These pDNAs contain a DNA segment encoding the protein of interest, as well as short segments of DNA that control protein expression. Plasmids can be manufactured using uniform methods of fermentation and processing. This could result in faster development times than technologies that require development of product-specific manufacturing processes.
Since the initial discovery of the core DNA delivery technology, Vical researchers have improved the plasmid design to provide increases in efficiency of gene expression and immunogenicity. In addition, the company is developing other formulation and delivery technologies to enhance DNA expression or increase the immune response in DNA vaccine applications. Vical owns broad rights in the United States and in other key markets to certain non-viral polynucleotide delivery technologies through its patents and licenses.
Vical's gene-based approach may offer safer and more cost-effective alternatives for the prevention or treatment of cancer, infectious diseases and other diseases.
Vical researches and develops biopharmaceutical products based on its patented DNA delivery technologies for the prevention and treatment of serious or life-threatening diseases. Potential applications of the company's DNA delivery technology include DNA vaccines for infectious diseases or cancer, in which the expressed protein is an immunogen; cancer immunotherapeutics, in which the expressed protein is an immune system stimulant; and cardiovascular therapies, in which the expressed protein is an angiogenic growth factor. The company has retained all rights to its internally developed product candidates. In addition, the company collaborates with major pharmaceutical companies and biotechnology companies that give it access to complementary technologies or greater resources. These strategic partnerships provide the company with mutually beneficial opportunities to expand its product pipeline and serve significant unmet medical needs. Additional information on Vical is available at http://www.vical.com/.
This press release contains forward-looking statements subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those projected. Forward-looking statements include statements about Vical's technology and its current and potential applications, the scope of coverage of and potential applications for the company's issued and pending patents, as well as the company's focus, collaborative partners, and product candidates. Risks and uncertainties include whether the company's technology will be successfully applied, whether the company's issued patents (including the patents discussed in this release) will be challenged and whether such challenges will have an adverse effect on the scope of the patents, whether the company will be successful in expanding its intellectual property position in key international regions or in the United States, whether the company will enforce its issued patents or will be successful in any enforcement efforts, whether the company will successfully prosecute additional patent applications and whether such applications will lead to the issuance of additional patents, whether Vical or its collaborative partners will seek or gain approval to market any product candidates, whether Vical or its collaborative partners will succeed in marketing any product candidates, and additional risks set forth in the company's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. These forward-looking statements represent the company's judgment as of the date of this release. The company disclaims, however, any intent or obligation to update these forward-looking statements.
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Alan R. Engbring Virginia Amann
Vical Incorporated Atkins + Associates
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