VGX Pharmaceuticals and DowpharmaSM
contract manufacturing services, a business unit of The Dow Chemical Company
(NYSE: DOW), today announced they have signed a Research and Development
Agreement to advance the development of VGX-100, VGX's novel cancer compound
in pre-clinical development. Under the terms of the agreement, Dowpharma will
perform a feasibility study for the expression of VGX-100, a VGX proprietary
protein, using PfÄ“nex Expression Technology(TM), a Pseudomonas-based
technology from Dowpharma, utilizing multiple Pseudomonas fluorescens
strains. PfÄ“nex Expression Technology accelerates speed to market for
vaccines and biotherapeutics by improving quality, boosting yields of protein
expression, and reducing the cost of existing microbial systems.
VGX Pharmaceuticals has discovered that specific viral proteins can induce
selective apoptosis (programmed cell death) in rapidly dividing cancer cells
without affecting normal cells. Preclinical studies have found that VGX-100,
a recombinant Viral protein r (Vpr), induces tumor death through apoptosis in
a variety of established human tumor cells derived from the breast, prostate,
brain, and other sources. The initial clinical studies will target
individuals with Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma.
"This is an important relationship for us as we continue to develop VGX-100,"
said J. Joseph Kim, Ph.D., President and CEO of VGX Pharmaceuticals. "The
signing of the agreement came at the perfect time in the development cycle of
this discovery. The feasibility studies will determine the extent to which
we can expedite the production of our protein from the laboratory to
production, so we can rapidly advance VGX-100 into the clinic."
"PfÄ“nex Expression Technology is proven to improve protein production and
consistently outperforms other microbial expression systems," said Nick Hyde,
global business director, Dowpharma. "We look forward to working with VGX to
increase protein yields and expedite the development of this promising
Dowpharma has an unmatched record in developing high-productivity strains for
the manufacture of numerous protein products for both clinical and industrial
applications. PfÄ“nex Expression Technology is built around specially modified
strains of Pseudomonas fluorescens bacteria that increase cellular expression
of recombinant proteins and peptides while maintaining critical solubility
and activity characteristics. PfÄ“nex Expression Technology consistently
outperforms other microbial systems, often with yields five to ten times
greater than the next best expression alternative.
DowpharmaSM serves the pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical industries with
innovative technologies, products, and services in drug discovery,
development, delivery and manufacturing. Dowpharma has one of the broadest
and deepest capabilities in the global outsourcing industry with services
that include process development, route selection, methods development,
custom solubilization, chiral capabilities, and associated analytical
services, as well as manufacturing and scale-up from feasibility, through
clinical trials, to commercial manufacturing.
Dowpharma manufactures small molecule Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients
(APIs) and intermediates, nucleic acid medicines, cGMP polymers, peptides and
therapeutic proteins from microbial fermentation and plant-based systems.
Dowpharma draws upon over 30 years of excellent cGMP regulatory compliance in
the organic synthesis of APIs and pharmaceutical intermediates with the
ability to provide client support in filing and validation strategies.
Dowpharma operates research, process development, and manufacturing
facilities in North America and Europe. More information is available at
Dow is a diversified chemical company that harnesses the power of science and
technology to improve living daily. The Company offers a broad range of
innovative products and services to customers in more than 175 countries,
helping them to provide everything from fresh water, food and pharmaceuticals
to paints, packaging and personal care products. Built on a commitment to its
principles of sustainability, Dow has annual sales of $46 billion and employs
42,000 people worldwide. References to "Dow" or the "Company" mean The Dow
Chemical Company and its consolidated subsidiaries unless otherwise expressly
noted. More information about Dow can be found at www.dow.com.
About VGX Pharmaceuticals
VGX Pharmaceuticals is a leading biopharmaceutical company with strong
product candidates for the treatment of infectious diseases including HIV and
hepatitis C virus (HCV) as well as cancer and inflammatory diseases. The
Company's clinical development programs include PICTOVIR(TM) for HIV
infection and VGX-410C for chronic HCV infection, which are currently in
Phase II clinical trials. In addition, a Phase I clinical trial will be
initiated in 2006 for the Company's lead cancer drug compound, VGX-150 for
the treatment of Melanoma. Moreover, VGX Pharmaceuticals' therapeutic
platform is designed to advance a strong and continual pipeline of additional
drug candidates into the clinic with VGX-100 for cancer therapy and VGX-1027
and VGX-750 for inflammatory diseases currently in development. The product
candidates and technology programs are protected by the Company's extensive
global intellectual property portfolio. More information about VGX can be
found at www.vgxp.com.