PARIS - Strasbourg-based Transghne and the Dutch biotechnology company IntroGene B.V., of Leiden, have signed a collaboration agreement covering the development of complementation cell lines for the industrial production of adenoviral vectors.

It provides for each company to grant the other non-exclusive licenses to its industrial property rights and for them to cooperate in the development and commercialization of new complementation lines derived from IntroGene's PER.C6 human cell line.

The PER.C6 cell line is universally acknowledged to be the only reliable system available at present for ensuring the production of adenoviral vectors without generating viruses capable of replicating themselves. IntroGene has granted a number of licenses for the use of this cell line to pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies involved in the development of gene therapies using adenoviral vectors.

Transghne points out that adenovirus-derived vectors are the most widely used and regarded as the most efficient, although it has developed a number of other viral and non-viral vectors. Moreover, the company's new generation of adenoviral vectors afford longer gene expression and lower toxicity than the first generation. While its agreement with IntroGene gives Transghne free access to PER.C6, this cell line is adapted only to the first generation of adenoviral vectors, and the more important component of the deal is that it provides for the companies to develop a new cell line derived from PER.C6 specifically designed for the industrial production of new generations of adenoviral vectors.

Transghne's deputy managing director and finance director, Bernard Davitian, told BioWorld International that neither company was paying for this exchange of technology but that they would share the profits derived from the licensing of the jointly developed cell line.

Transghne Managing Director Bernard Gilly said the companies intended to create ''a unique technological platform that should quickly establish itself as the standard for all gene therapy products using adenoviral vectors. Furthermore, this collaboration should enable us to accelerate our progress toward commercializing our first adenoviral gene therapy products.''

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