GAITHERSBURG, Md., Sept. 21, 2007 (PRIME NEWSWIRE) -- VIRxSYS Corporation, a privately held company developing gene therapies for HIV and genetic diseases, today announced that it has acquired all the core technology and preclinical programs of Intronn Inc., a leading company in the field of RNA biology and therapeutics. The purchase was an all-stock transaction; details have not been disclosed.
Intronn is best known for developing and patenting spliceosome-mediated RNA trans-splicing (SMaRT) technology, a new approach to genetic medicine. Unlike most RNA technologies that deploy RNA modifications as "gene-silencers" to block selected gene functions, the SMaRT technology reprograms gene expression at the RNA level by inserting a new sequence into a gene to repair mutations or change gene expression.
"We are excited to be expanding the infrastructure for our pipeline of therapies, which we believe holds great promise to alleviate human suffering from terrible diseases," said Dr. Riku Rautsola, President and CEO of VIRxSYS. "This is a major step in our company's capabilities and growth. Adding the SMaRT RNA platform to our lentiviral vector delivery platform will help us build VIRxSYS into the driving force behind the next generation of gene therapy."
SMaRT RNA therapy uses gene therapy vectors to deliver proprietary RNA molecules, known as 'pre-trans-splicing molecules' (PTMs), that can either correct defective gene sequences or provide a new function to a gene. The SMaRT technology has more than 30 publications in major scientific journals.
"We see tremendous synergy between our two technologies," said Dr. Rautsola. "Combining the VIRxSYS delivery platform with the SMaRT RNA reprogramming technology will help us create powerful new therapies more rapidly. Our initial focus will continue to be on HIV and genetic diseases. Intronn brings advanced pre-clinical programs in hemophilia and cardiovascular disease, which will integrate extremely well with our own programs in those areas, eliminating duplicative cost and effort. We also envision applications of SMaRT in a broad range of disease indications. All of this, of course, will benefit both Intronn and Virxsys shareholders."
VRX496, an investigational CD4 T cell treatment against HIV, is the first application of VIRxSYS' lentiviral vector platform. Currently in Phase II studies, it is the first, and continues to be the only, lentiviral vector currently administered in human clinical trials approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. A successful Phase I trial was reported in the prestigious Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in November 2006. (Levine et al. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2006).
Founded in 1998, VIRxSYS is a private biotechnology company that focuses on the development of a novel lentiviral vector platform technology for the treatment of serious diseases such as HIV/AIDS and cardiovascular and genetic diseases. The Company exclusively licensed its patented, proprietary technology platform from The Johns Hopkins University (JHU) in Baltimore, Maryland where the original research was conducted. The Company also has been issued additional patents relating to the application and manufacture of the technology. More information regarding VIRxSYS can be found at www.virxsys.com. Details for the Phase II study may be found at the NIH clinical trials website at clinicaltrials.gov/show/NCT00131560.
Intronn Inc. uses proprietary RNA splicing technology to re-program genes. This technology, known as SMaRT, has broad applications including gene reprogramming, RNA repair, real-time molecular imaging, and genomics. It has developed a broad collaborative network with a number of renowned institutions including the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health; the University of Iowa; Stanford University; and King's College London. The company has been supported by AEA Investors LLC (New York and London), Research Corporation Technologies (Tucson, Arizona), Proteome Sciences plc. (London), and the State of Maryland. More information regarding the SMaRT technology can be found at www.intronn.com.
CONTACT: VIRxSYS Corporation