Lab Canada

Biotechs combine expertise to develop non-viral gene therapies

Montreal, QC/Rockville, MD — February 5, 2003 — Pulmonary disease treatment is the target of a new collaborative and licensing agreement between biotech firms Northern Therapeutics and MaxCyte.

Northern Therapeutics has developed a cell-based gene therapy for pulmonary arterial hypertension and other chronic life-threatening pulmonary disorders. This technology provides a unique platform for regenerating damaged lung tissue and will be used to address severe pulmonary conditions.

A clinical stage biotechnology company, MaxCyte is commercializing a cell-loading technology, with the goal of enabling and improving non-viral therapeutic gene transfer, identifying more targeted ways to deliver drugs, and accelerating the drug discovery process.

In this collaboration, the plan is to develop gene-based therapeutics for specific indications that can be administered at a patient’s bedside. The companies say they expect to file their first investigational new drug application with the US Food and Drug Administration this year.

“This strategic partnership provides Northern Therapeutics with a non-viral gene delivery platform to realize the full potential of our gene discoveries,” says Dr Duncan Stewart, chief scientific officer of Northern Therapeutics. “It was important for us to partner with a leader in non-viral gene delivery to advance our program to the clinic.”

Dr Stewart — who also serves as chief of cardiology at St Michael’s Hospital and director and Dexter HC Man chair of cardiology at the University of Toronto, and has earned international recognition for his work in cardiopulmonary gene therapy — will direct the program.