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NIAID LICENSE FOR INTRACELLULAR AIDS IMMUNIZATION PROCESS

Executive Summary

NIAID LICENSE FOR INTRACELLULAR AIDS IMMUNIZATION PROCESS is available to the commercial sector, the National Institutes of Health recently announced in the new technology transfer catalog "AIDS: Licensing Opportunities for the Public Health Service." The intracellular immunization technology, patent No. E-099-90, is for "Adeno-Associated Virus (AAV)-Based Eucaryotic Vectors." The invention is part of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease's current program to explore the possibility of using gene insertion techniques to inhibit the growth of the AIDS virus within cells. According to the catalog description for the invention, which was developed by NIAID researcher Saswati Chatterjee, "a new adeno-associated virus (AAV) based eucaryotic vector has been engineered [that is] capable of expressing protein or down- regulating targeted genes. Versions of this vector have been used to confer intracellular resistance to human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and herpes simplex infections." The catalog notes that "AAV- based eucaryotic vectors offer several advantages in stability and lack of cytopathogenicity over retroviral vectors currently utilized in antisense modulation of gene expression." NIAID Director Anthony Fauci, MD, recently cited research on intracellular immunization as an especially promising approach to AIDS treatment. At an April 15 hearing of the House Appropriations Committee, Fauci said that intracellular resistance, while still "theoretical," has "considerable potential" and added that in the last year "several NIAID-supported researchers identified mutant genes of the AIDS virus that are promising candidates for such a strategy." The catalog, published by NIH's Office of Technology Transfer, showcases approximately 100 of the Public Health Service's newest patented and patentable AIDS research projects and includes a wide array of potential diagnostics, antiviral therapeutic agents and assays, vaccines and immunomodulators, and other materials and reagents. Among the researchers whose inventions are showcased are some of the best known names in the field of AIDS research. They include Robert Gallo, MD, one of the discoverers of the AIDS- causing virus; gene therapy pioneer W. French Anderson, MD; and National Cancer Institute Director Samuel Broder, MD. In addition, the catalog offers the rights to several brand new and still relatively obscure inventions. For example, one of the many antiviral agents featured in the portfolio is TAP 29, an organic anti-HIV protein that was recently isolated by NCI researcher Philip Lee-Huang. Like the earlier organic AIDS therapy protein Q [Genelabs' GLQ-233], Tap 29 is extracted from the roots of the Chinese cucumber plant Trichosantes kirolowii. TAP 29's patent claims that, during in vitro studies, recombinant forms of the agent "have been found to be useful in treating HIV infections and tumors" and adds that TAP 29 is useful when "administered alone or in conjunction with conventional AIDS therapies." According to NIH director Bernadine Healy, who released the new licensing portfolio at an April 24 conference on technology transfer sponsored jointly by NIH and the Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association, the catalog is intended "to facilate technology transfer between the government and industry" by taking most of the public health services AIDS-related inventions and "organizing them into a single document intended specifically for product development." Healy added that if this effort is successful there will be "future portfolios and catalogs of this type, all of which will be updated periodically, and will comprise other technologies." NIH's Office of Technology Transfer reports that catalogs for cancer, cardiovascular disease, central nervous system disorders, immunology, infectious diseases, internal medicine, molecular & cellular biology, and women and minority health products are currently being developed. Additional information on the licensing portfolios can be obtained by contacting: Todd Leonard or Sandra Shotwell of the Technology Licensing Branch of NIH's Office of Technology Transfer at (301) 496-0750.
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