Ichor Medical Systems, Inc. Secures Rights to Interleukin-12 from The Wistar Institute
SAN DIEGO, September 4, 2003 - Ichor Medical Systems, Inc. today announced that it has licensed worldwide rights to the Interleukin-12 (IL-12) gene from The Wistar Institute, Philadelphia, PA. Ichor plans to develop clinical products combining its patented TriGrid™ electroporation delivery technology with IL-12 for use in cancer and vaccine applications.
IL-12 is a powerful cytokine that can be used to dramatically improve the body's immune responses to certain diseases. It was first discovered at The Wistar Institute by Drs. Giorgio Trinchieri and Bice Perussia in 1989. Early on IL-12 held great promise for treating cancer, but the protein form administered systemically to patients in those early human trials had unacceptable side effects. Ichor scientists have now learned that when the IL-12 gene is inserted directly into the cancer cells using the TriGrid™ delivery system, the harmful side effects are eliminated and the anti-cancer response is vastly improved. According to Ichor CEO Robert Bernard, "These pre-clinical findings have formed the basis for Ichor's decision to invest in the IL-12/TriGrid™ product combination. We are encouraged that several academic institutions working independently have confirmed our findings on the efficacy of intra-tumoral delivery of the IL-12 gene."
Initially, Ichor will focus on development of the IL-12/TriGrid™ product for the treatment of cancer. In pre-clinical studies, Ichor scientists have demonstrated that direct delivery of the IL-12 gene into a local lesion can induce a significant reduction in the tumor mass. However, the greatest enthusiasm for this approach is derived from the observation made by Ichor scientists that not only did the local tumor respond, but that the therapy also caused systemic anti-tumor effects which prevented development of distant metastases. Importantly these effects were achieved without evidence of toxicity typically associated with IL-12 administration. Ichor's Vice-President Drew Hannaman noted, "These findings on the systemic effects of local IL-12 delivery could have important implications for the development of new approaches to address the life threatening metastatic spread of cancer."
Ichor Medical Systems, Inc. is a private company founded to develop clinical products based on the in vivo application of electroporation. Ichor technology utilizes the application of electrical fields to safely enhance the intracellular uptake of therapeutic agents within a targeted region of tissue.
Ichor's research focus is the development of its platform electroporation technology for the targeted delivery of therapeutic agents including pharmaceutical compounds and nucleotide constructs. Ichor has developed methods and equipment suitable for laboratory and clinical investigation of electroporation as a means for delivering therapeutic agents. A portion of Ichor's work in this field has been supported by Federal grants under the SBIR program, awarded to Ichor by the National Institutes of Health.
For additional information, contact Lacey Tichenor at Ichor (858) 550-2022 or visit www.ichorms.com.
The Wistar Institute is an independent nonprofit biomedical research institution dedicated to discovering the causes and cures for major diseases, including cancer, cardiovascular disease, autoimmune disorders, and infectious diseases. Founded in 1892 as the first institution of its kind in the nation, The Wistar Institute today is a National Cancer Institute-designated Cancer Center - one of only eight focused on basic research. Discoveries at Wistar have led to the development of vaccines for such diseases as rabies and rubella, the identification of genes associated with breast, lung, and prostate cancer, and the development of monoclonal antibodies and other significant research technologies and tools. For additional information, contact Franklin Hoke at (215) 898-3716 or visit www.wistar.org.