Medicorp Inc. has acquired exclusive North and SouthAmerican rights to a technology for in vivo genetic engineeringdeveloped at the Institut Jacques Monod.

The technology solves a key barrier to the integration ofgenetic material from different species or genera, according tothe Montreal company.

One barrier to integration of new genetic material in living cellsis the "mismatch repair system" possessed by every cell toprotect it from invasion by foreign DNA. When base pairsbetween two strands of DNA are mismatched, an enzymesystem clips off the mismatch. According to Medicorp., itstechnology turns off the system, permitting the survival of DNAduplexes formed during homologous recombination thatcontain mismatches.

Among the technology's potential applications is the creation ofrecombinant vaccines, said Elliott Block, president. For example,he said, it might be possible to create a chimeric vaccinecombining E. coli and salmonella, which no longer would havethe pathogenicity of salmonella, but would induce an immuneresponse.

Medicorp hasn't decided what applications it will target first,said Block. The technology also has potential applications inagriculture and veterinary medicine.

The Institute Jacques Monod has applied for U.S. and Europeanpatents on the technology. -- Karen Bernstein

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