SOURCE: Oxford Biomedica Plc

July 04, 2005 04:09 ET



Oxford, UK: 4 July 2005 - Oxford BioMedica (LSE: OXB), the leading gene therapy company, announced today that the Patent Office of the Peoples' Republic of China has granted two patents to the Company that have broad claims covering vectors derived from lentiviruses. These are the first patents covering the commercial use of the Company's LentiVector technology in China, the only country in the world with an approved gene therapy product and a country where opportunities for innovative pharmaceutical development is widely predicted to grow substantially over the next decade.

These patents add further strength to Oxford BioMedica's existing intellectual property covering lentiviral vector systems that, unlike many versions, have real therapeutic utility because of their safety. The Oxford BioMedica team was the first to construct lentiviral vectors that contain no viral genes at all, and which comprise the minimum number of viral components in the viral particles. It is this minimisation of the vectors that confers the safety and is the subject of these patents.

The LentiVector technology forms the delivery system for the Company's neurotherapy pipeline, including products for Parkinson's disease, age-related macular degeneration, motor neuron disease, spinal muscular atrophy and nerve repair. ProSavin®, for Parkinsons disease, is Oxford BioMedica's most advanced programme that uses the LentiVector system, and clinical trials are expected to start in 2006. In addition, the Company has shown that the technology can be used for other disease areas such as anaemia, haemophilia and AIDS.

Commenting on the new patents, Oxford BioMedica's Chief Executive, Professor Alan Kingsman said: "We are delighted to add these two patents to our substantial intellectual property portfolio. Having these patents in place now enables us to commercialise our products in China. Towards the end of the year we will be seeking partners for the Chinese market, which is set to grow faster than any other territory in the next ten years.".


For further information, please contact:

Oxford BioMedica plc:
Professor Alan Kingsman, Chief Executive         Tel: +44 (0)1865 783 000

City/Financial Enquiries:
Lisa Baderoon/ Mark Court/ 
Mary-Jane Johnson Buchanan                       Tel: +44 (0)20 7466 5000

Scientific/Trade Press Enquiries:
Sue Charles/ Katja Stout/ Ashley Lilly           Tel: +44 (0)20 7886 8150
Northbank Communications

Notes to editors

1. Oxford BioMedica

Oxford BioMedica (LSE: OXB) is a biopharmaceutical company specialising in the development of novel gene-based therapeutics with a focus on the areas of oncology and neurotherapy. The Company was established in 1995 as a spin out from Oxford University, and is listed on the London Stock Exchange.

Oxford BioMedica has core expertise in gene delivery, as well as in-house clinical, regulatory and manufacturing know-how. In oncology, the pipeline includes an immunotherapy and a gene therapy in multiple Phase II trials, and a preclinical targeted antibody therapy in collaboration with Wyeth. In neurotherapy, the Company's lead product is a gene therapy for Parkinson's disease, which is expected to enter clinical trials in early 2006, and four further preclinical candidates. The Company is underpinned by over 80 patent families, which represent one of the broadest patent estates in the field.

The Company has a staff of approximately 65 split between its main facilities in Oxford and its wholly owned subsidiary, BioMedica Inc, in San Diego, California. Oxford BioMedica has corporate collaborations with Wyeth, Intervet, Amersham, Viragen, MolMed and Kiadis; and has licensed technology to a number of companies including Merck & Co, Biogen Idec and Pfizer.

Further information is available at

2. LentiVector technology

Oxford BioMedica's LentiVector gene delivery technology, based on lentiviruses, is arguably the most potent system currently available for treating a range of diseases, particularly those of the central nervous system. Oxford BioMedica has shown that its lentiviral vectors are able to deliver genes and RNAi with high efficiency to a variety of both dividing and non-dividing cells, including neurons in the brain.

Oxford BioMedica has three issued US patents and a European patent for its LentiVector technology. These include broad composition of matter claims and methods of production claims for lentiviral vector gene delivery systems of both human and non-human origin. The patents also cover derivatives of lentiviral vector systems that, unlike many versions of lentiviral vectors, have real clinical utility because of their safety.

The Company has established a neurotherapy pipeline of product candidates based on its LentiVector technology, which includes ProSavin® for Parkinson's disease, RetinoStat® for retinopathy, MoNudin® for motor neuron disease, SMN1-G for spinal muscular atrophy and Innurex® for nerve repair. Current licensees of the LentiVector technology include Merck & Co, Biogen Idec and Pfizer.

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