PARIS - Transgene and U.S. company Mirus signed a five-year research and licensing agreement for the development of gene therapy products using the gene transfer technology of Mirus in conjunction with Transgene's adenoviral and synthetic vectors.

Strasbourg-based Transgene will finance the program, targeted at developing treatments for Duchenne's disease (a form of muscular dystrophy) and multiple sclerosis and entailing the transfer of therapeutic genes into muscle tissue.

Mirus, of Madison, Wis., has developed a method of transferring blood system vectors into muscles using intra-vascular administration, enabling the genes to be distributed throughout the muscle area. The traditional form of administration directly into the muscle tissue limits the transfer of the genes to the area around the point of injection. The companies think this technique could be used for the treatment of neuromuscular diseases, as well as for the administration of secreted therapeutic proteins into the blood.

The agreement grants Transgene the option of licensing Mirus' intravascular administration technology for the transfer of therapeutic genes into muscles with the aim of developing gene therapy products for Duchenne's disease, multiple sclerosis and five other target pathologies to be selected during the five-year term of the deal.

- James Etheridge

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