enGene Inc.

enGene Inc.

October 17, 2006 18:31 ET

enGene, Inc. Introduces New GEMS'TM' Non-Viral Gene Delivery Technology and Initiates Series A Financing

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(CCNMatthews - Oct. 17, 2006) - enGene, Inc., a privately held biotechnology company with a highly innovative approach for the treatment of diabetes called GEMS™-Insulin, announced today it has acquired a license to a non-viral gene integration technology from Poetic Genetics, Inc. of Burlingame, California. The agreement grants enGene exclusive worldwide rights to use Poetic's technology to integrate therapeutic genes, in a site-specific manner, into the genome of existing intestinal cells, thereby enabling the long-term production of drugs within the body to treat diabetes, obesity and gastrointestinal disorders. Upon achievement of specific milestones, Poetic will receive equity in enGene, cash payments and royalties from commercial sales of products that incorporate Poetic's technology. Concurrently, enGene has developed an effective non-viral gene delivery vehicle using a widely available, non-toxic biopolymer.

Poetic Genetics was founded by the inventor of its proprietary gene integration system, Dr. Michele Calos of Stanford University. She leads the company together with its Chairman, Dr. William J. Rutter, a co-founder of Chiron Corporation.

Eric A. Adams, President and CEO of enGene said, "the agreement strengthens enGene's proprietary platform technology, GEMS™ (Gut Endocrine-cell Modification System) and represents a significant leap forward in the field of gene delivery."

"Based on significant preclinical data, we are confident that this non-viral system is more effective in delivering and integrating therapeutic genes into our target cells than our previous viral vector approach. In addition, this innovative delivery and integration system reduces safety concerns, dramatically reduces manufacturing costs and complexity and expands the range of diseases that we can treat," said Adams. "Taken together, these factors greatly enhance our probability of clinical and commercial success."

enGene also announces initiation of a US$15 million Series A financing to support preclinical and clinical development of GEMS™-Insulin. "The timing is right for us to attract institutional investors given the breadth of our platform technology, the importance of the change to non-viral delivery, and the reasonable timeframe for achieving preliminary human efficacy data in the GEMS™-Insulin program," added Adams.

More about enGene, Inc. and GEMS™ for Diabetes

enGene's approach utilizes the therapeutic protein production capacity of the patient's existing, normal, healthy cells in a small, targeted area of the duodenum by delivering a gene construct via a non-viral vector. enGene's lead product, GEMS™-Insulin, targets the escalating diabetes market and has the potential to re-establish a functioning, self-regulating internal delivery system capable of releasing insulin in the proper quantity and at the appropriate time to regulate blood glucose levels. These studies have shown that mice can produce human insulin from cells in the gastrointestinal tract for over 150 days after a single administration of the GEMS™-Insulin gene.

Other potential applications for GEMS™ include obesity, anemia, hemophilia and several gastrointestinal disorders.

Additional information about the Company is available at www.engeneinc.com.


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