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Inauguration of Genethon Bioprod the Largest Center for the Production of Gene Therapy Products in the World Opens its Doors in 2011


11/30/2010 10:24:02 AM

November 30, 2010 -- Genethon is the laboratory of the French Muscular Dystrophy Association (AFM) and today at Evry, Genethon BioProd is inaugurated. This is a production centre for gene therapy products that is unique in the world. The centre opens its doors in 2011 and has been financed by AFM with the support of the French Telethon initiative, the Ile de France Regional Council (Conseil regional), the Essonne Regional Council and Genepole Evry. The aim of the centre is ambitious: to further the progress of gene therapy through the large scale production of vector medicines.

Genethon CEO Frédéric Revah said of the centre: « This is the result of 20 years of research excellence at Genethon. Genethon Bioprod meets the needs of researchers undertaking gene therapy trials in people for rare diseases, and will enable patients to benefit more quickly from customised treatments. » He went on to convey « A big thank you to all our partners for their financial support without which this fantastic project would not have seen the light of day so quickly. »

AFM and Genethon President Laurence Tiennot-Herment commented that « Genethon Bioprod is one of the most ambitious projects ever undertaken by the AFM thanks to the Telethon support : its ambition is to open and have fully functioning the largest production centre of gene therapy products so as to accelerate trials in humans. Having decoded the human genome, understood how a number of diseases actually function and brought on new treatments, Genethon BioProd is bringing science and medicine to the frontiers of treatment. We are closer than ever to the healing stage and have every reason to be confident! Everyone who has played a part in creating tomorrow’s medicine today – families, patients, researchers, doctors, volunteers and donors – can hold their heads up high! »

A globally unique site Genethon BioProd is dedicated to the production of gene therapy vectors of the right calibre and in quantities sufficient to undertake phase I and II clinical trials. This level of production means that the development of early gene therapy treatments for rare diseases can be accelerated. Genethon BioProd features over 5000m² of space dedicated to the bioproduction and monitoring of gene therapy products, and all the equipment and expertise needed for this highly specialised ‘vector-medicine’ production is all brought under one roof. Genethon BioProd will produce its first ‘vector-medicines’ at the end of 2011. The objective is to produce 20 clinical batches a year for trials in France and abroad, volumes that have never been produced before.

A different kind of financing It took nearly a year to build Genethon BioProd, on a budget of 28 million Euros. This was financed to the tune of 8 million Euros by the Ile de France Regional Council (Conseil regional), with a further 7 million coming from the Essone Regional Council. 8 million Euros came from Genopole and 5 million Euros from the AFM. Once the site becomes fully operational, AFM will be financing the lab teams and the functioning of the vector-medicine production laboratory itself at a cost of over 8 million Euros a year. This ongoing financial support is provided by AFM thanks to the generosity of the Telethon.

Vector medicines are often derived from a virus. They are used to transport the gene medicine into the patient’s cells, the objective being to restore them to a fully functioning state.

About Généthon

Généthon is a not-for-profit research laboratory which was created by the French Muscular Dystrophy Association (Association Française contre les Myopathies, AFM) and is now funded almost exclusively by donations from France's annual Telethon. After having played a pioneering role in deciphering the human genome, Généthon (with over 200 scientists, physicians, engineers and regulatory affairs specialists) is now one of the world's leading centers for preclinical and clinical research and development in the field of gene therapy for rare diseases. www.genethon.fr

About the AFM

The French Muscular Dystrophy Association (Association Française contre les Myopathies, AFM) federates patients with rare diseases and the patients' families. Thanks to donations from France's annual Telethon (€95 million in 2009), the AFM has become a major player in biomedical research on rare diseases in France and worldwide. It is currently funding 36 clinical trials on 30 different genetic diseases which variously affect the eyes, the blood, the brain, the immune system and the muscles. By creating its own research capabilities (such as the Généthon research laboratory), the AFM is stirring up the world of scientific research and medicine and innovating with one sole objective: beating diseases which have long been neglected and considered to be incurable. The 2010 Telethon will take place on December 3rd and 4th. For more information, visit www.afm- telethon.fr and check out the AFM management team's blog at www.cdansnosgenes.org.

Contacts press:

ALIZE RP Service de presse de l’AFM Caroline Carmagnol Anne-Sophie Midol/Stéphanie Bardon Tél : 06 64 18 99 59 Tél : 01 69 47 28 28 caroline@alizerp.com presse@afm.genethon.fr Anne-Sophie Cosquéric Tél : 01 42 36 68 41 // anne-sophie@alizerp.com


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