LONDON - The gene therapy company Oxford Biomedica, of Oxford, agreed to a deal with Modex Therapeutics SA that gives Modex access to its LentiVector technology for the development of cell-based therapies.

Modex, of Lausanne, Switzerland, plans to use the vector in combination with its proprietary encapsulated cell system to develop a diabetes treatment. It will consist of an implant containing glucose-responsive, insulin-producing beta cell lines. The cells are surrounded by a membrane that allows exchange of nutrients and cell products, while preventing host immune recognition of the implant.

The LentiVector will deliver the gene constructs to the encapsulated cells for long-term production of insulin. Modex said production of insulin in implants could replace daily injections.

Jaques Essinger, CEO of Modex, said, "LentiVector offers long-term stable gene expression for our cell-based platform technology. We expect to use it for this and our other products in development."

Alan Kingman, CEO of Oxford Biomedica, said the deal further underlined the importance of the company's gene-delivery systems. "In this instance we have achieved a consolidation of technologies to open up a completely new product opportunity," he said. - Nuala Moran