Biosource Genetics Corp. will fund the New England MedicalCenter's research on CD43 anti-adhesion molecules as part of aneffort to develop drugs for treating autoimmune diseases andinflammatory disorders. The amount of funding was notdisclosed.
Under the agreement, Biosource Genetics of Vacaville, Calif.,will have an exclusive worldwide license for humantherapeutic applications of any products derived from theresearch. It will also have a companion license for relatedtechnology previously developed by New England Medical thatis the subject of two patent applications.
Biosource Genetics will provide Boston-based New EnglandMedical with its Geneware gene expression technology. Thetechnology is based on gene expression vectors derived fromRNA plant viruses that enable conversion of cells and plantsinto factories for the production of chemicals.
New England Medical Center's Blair Ardman will continue hisresearch with CD43, a molecule that is normally expressed onthe surface of cells in the immune system. Experiments in hislab "suggest that the function of CD43 is to regulate adhesion ofimmune cells to each other and to other cells," New EnglandMedical said. Because interactions among immune cells arerequired for inflammation to occur, Ardman believes that"certain forms of CD43 could be very effective in limiting orblocking inflammation by interrupting a critical step in theinflammatory process."
Biosource Genetics has one commercial product, melanin, whichwas introduced in Europe in 1992 as the key ingredient of newsunscreen and skin-care products. Founded in 1987, thecompany is also engineering genes in plants to producebiopolymers for use in food, cosmetics and specialty chemicals.
-- Brenda Sandburg News Editor
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