Vical Inc. announced Monday that it received a $500,000 smallbusiness innovation research (SBIR) grant from the NationalInstitutes of Health to further develop Vical's proprietarycytofectins.

Cytofectins are a family of lipids for delivering functional genesto cells and tissues in vivo. According to Philip Felgner, Vical'schief scientist, cytofectins readily form stable complexes withgenetic material such as DNA or RNA, enabling its safe deliveryto the interior of the cell and bypassing the lysosomaldegradation pathway.

In the company's cancer and cardiovascular productdevelopment programs, genes are delivered formulated withcytofectins.

"Our cytofectin technology builds upon Vical's core business ofdirect intramuscular administration of gene based products,"said Alain Schreiber, Vical's president and chief executiveofficer.

Privately held Vical of San Diego is developing technology forthe administration of polynucleotide and gene-based drugproducts to treat and prevent infectious and cardiovasculardiseases, autoimmune disorders and cancer. -- Michelle Slade

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