TargeTech Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of ImmuneResponse Corp., was issued U.S. patent No. 5,166,320 coveringmethods and compositions for delivering DNA to the liver viareceptors on the surface of liver cells.

The inventors of the patent are George and Catherine Wu of theUniversity of Connecticut, and TargeTech holds an exclusivelicense for the patent. TargeTech is developing this coretechnology to treat diseases through gene therapy.

"This patented technology may help gene therapy evolve froman in vitro procedure performed in a laboratory to a traditionalinjectable drug administered in a hospital setting," said DennisCarlo, chief scientific officer for Immune Response of Carlsbad,Calif.

According to Immune Response, the technology is designed fordirect intravenous injection of "gene drugs" targetedspecifically to the asialoglycoprotein receptor on liver cells. Thecompany said this in vivo approach is intended to introduce atherapeutic gene into livers cells, where the gene is expressedand produces a protein without the use of retroviral vectors.

The patented technology is "the carrier system for the DNA andvery central to the work being done by TargeTech," said HankNordhoss, chief executive officer of the Meriden, Conn.,company.

TargeTech said it is conducting preclinical trials using thetechnology in animal models for hepatitis B and plans to file aninvestigational new drug (IND) application with the FDA withinthe next 12 months.

Immune Response acquired TargeTech in November.

-- Michelle Slade Associate Editor

(c) 1997 American Health Consultants. All rights reserved.