GenVec Inc. And Washington University in St. Louis Form Collaboration To Discover Targeted Adenovector-Based Therapeutics And Vaccines

GAITHERSBURG, Md., June 3, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- GenVec, Inc. (NASDAQ: GNVC) today announced a multi-faceted collaboration with Dr. David T. Curiel and his team from the School of Medicine at Washington University at St. Louis (WUSTL).  Dr. Curiel is the director of the Biologic Therapeutic Center and the Cancer Biology Division within the Department of Radiation Oncology.

Under the collaboration, GenVec and the WUSTL team will create modified versions of GenVec's gorilla adenovectors that incorporate specialized targeting antibodies on the surface of the vectors. These antibodies are produced only by camels, alpacas and other camelids and are smaller and more stable in intracellular environments than their mouse or human counterparts. The ultimate goal of this collaboration will be to create highly targeted therapeutics and vaccines.

"Dr. Curiel is a world-class leader in the field and we are excited to collaborate with him and his outstanding team," said Douglas E. Brough, GenVec's chief scientific officer. "The ability to create highly targeted versions of our adenovectors isolated from mountain gorillas would give GenVec a host of new opportunities for the discovery of new therapeutics and vaccines to address a broad spectrum of diseases." 

The WUSTL team has conducted in vitro research using human cells grown in the lab to demonstrate that camelid antibodies can be used to target genetically engineered viruses specifically to cancer cells.  Camelid antibodies are smaller than typical antibody proteins and do not unfold in the harsh environment inside cells, allowing them to retain their binding specificity, and thus, their targeting capability.  Paired with the right viral vector, and combined with other targeting moieties, these antibodies can potentially be used for pinpoint delivery of viruses to various target cell types.

In preclinical testing, GenVec's gorilla adenovectors have shown superior performance, particularly for molecular vaccine applications. We have seen the induction of both durable high-level antibody and T cell responses and have demonstrated increased immune responses on repeat administration. At the same time, these multiply-deleted adenovectors ensure replication block, provide increased transgene capacity, and avoid the pre-existing immunity issues that can hamper gene delivery using other adenovector constructs.

The purpose of the early stage of GenVec/WUSTL collaborative work will be to explore how the durability and targeting potential of WUSTL's camelid antibodies can be combined with the strengths of GenVec's gorilla adenovectors to yield precision-targeted compounds that may effectively address a variety of disease indications. 

"We think GenVec's proprietary adenovectors are the ideal gene delivery vehicle to complement our novel targeting technology," commented Dr. Curiel.  "We look forward to exploring a wide range of applications of this powerful combination."

About Washington University School of Medicine

The Washington University School of Medicine's 2,100 employed and volunteer faculty physicians also are on the medical staff of Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children's hospitals.  The School of Medicine is one of the leading medical research, teaching and patient-care institutions in the nation, currently ranked sixth in the nation by U.S. News & World Report.  Through its affiliations with Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children's hospitals, the School of Medicine is linked to BJC Healthcare.

About GenVec

GenVec is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company with an entrepreneurial focus on leveraging its proprietary adenovector gene delivery platform to develop a pipeline of cutting-edge therapeutics and vaccines. The company is a pioneer in the design, testing and manufacture of adenoviral-based product candidates that can deliver on the promise of gene-based medicine. GenVec's lead product candidate, CGF166, is licensed to Novartis and is currently in a Phase 1/2 clinical study for the treatment of hearing loss and balance disorders. In addition to our internal and partnered pipeline, we also focus on opportunities to license our proprietary technology platform, including vectors and production cell lines, for the development and manufacture of therapeutics and vaccines to the biopharmaceutical industry. Additional information about GenVec is available at and in the company's various filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Statements herein relating to future financial or business performance, conditions or strategies and other financial and business matters, including with respect to GenVec's hearing loss and balance disorders program are forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act.  GenVec cautions that these forward-looking statements are subject to numerous assumptions, risks and uncertainties, which change over time. Factors that may cause actual results to differ materially from the results discussed in the forward-looking statements or historical experience include risks and uncertainties, such as the failure of Novartis to advance GenVec's hearing loss and balance disorders program.  Further information on the factors and risks that could affect GenVec's business, financial conditions and results of operations, are contained in GenVec's filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which are available at  These forward-looking statements speak only as of the date of this press release, and GenVec assumes no duty to update forward-looking statements.

GenVec, Inc.                          
Rena Cohen               
(240) 632-5501             

To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:

SOURCE GenVec, Inc.

Help employers find you! Check out all the jobs and post your resume.

Back to news