LONDON ¿ Proteome Sciences plc said it completed a US$7 million funding of its U.S subsidiary, Intronn Inc., providing money for the further development of its SMaRT gene reprogramming technology.
The money came from AEA Investors Inc., of New York, and Research Corporation Technologies Inc., of Tucson, Ariz. Intronn previously was fully funded by Proteome. In addition, the company was awarded a grant of more than $2.5 million from the National Institutes of Health.
Chris Pearce, CEO of Proteome Sciences, based in Cobham, Surrey, said, ¿The fact that Intronn has raised $7 million in these very tough market conditions, a larger amount than was planned, is a reflection of the quality of the business and the value of the technologies it has developed.¿
Intronn, based in Raleigh, N.C, said its SMaRT (Spliceosome Mediated mRNA) technology can reprogram the vast majority of human, plant and animal genes to correct genetic errors, confer a new function on a cell, or create novel gene products. It uses nucleic acid sequences that can be introduced into pre-messenger RNA molecules to perform the reprogramming.
The technology has been used by Chris Walsh at the University of North Carolina to carry out a full-length repair of Factor VIII mRNA in a mouse model of hemophilia, and by John Engelhardt at the University of Iowa to correct the endogenous defect in cystic fibrosis in an in vivo tissue model. The NIH grant was awarded by the National Cancer Institute to develop therapeutics for human papillomavirus and cervical cancer.
Pearce said Intronn recently completed the transition from being a research project to a focused corporate entity. The funding will allow it to exploit an expanded business plan, further applying SMaRT across a range of applications in genomics, target validation, gene therapy and ag-bio.
¿Proteome Sciences has funded Intronn since its inception and is the largest shareholder. Having concluded the $7 million financing there will be no recourse to Proteome for further funding of the SMaRT programs,¿ Pearce said.
The other activities of Intronn that are unrelated to SMaRT have been transferred to a new company, Veri-Q Inc., including a project in synthetic oligonucleotides and their use for monitoring DNA chips. Proteome has a 55 percent interest in Veri-Q Inc. and said it is seeking partners to commercialize its technologies.