12:00 AM
Sep 29, 1997
 |  BioCentury  |  Emerging Company Profile

Ins and Outs of cardiovascular gene therapy; CardioGene: The Inside; Eurogene: The outside

Gene therapy has two critical requirements: delivery of the gene vector to the appropriate tissues or location within the body, and expression of a gene product that has therapeutic benefit. Cardiovascular disease is thought to be an excellent opportunity since targeted delivery to blood vessels is easier than for other organs, and a number of genes relevant to cardiovascular indications have been identified.

CardioGene Therapeutics has both pieces of the puzzle: gene expression vectors with promising genes to deliver, and devices designed by the founding scientists/cardiologists to deliver those vectors specifically to blood vessels. The company is focused in restenosis, plaque stabilization, and angiogenesis to treat ischemia, aneurysm and heart failure.

Co-founders Elizabeth and Gary Nabel at the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor) have developed a double-balloon catheter for delivery of genes and other compounds to the interior vascular wall. The catheter is licensed to Vical Inc. (VICL, San Diego, Calif.) with an exclusive sublicense to CardioGene.

Besides the double-balloon catheter, CardioGene is developing a DNA-coated stent as an alternative for direct delivery of expression vectors following angioplasty. The company also has technology for gene expression in cardiac tissue resulting from direct injection of an expression vector into the heart.

CardioGene recently received a patent covering its direct cardiac injection technique, which co-founder Jeffrey Leiden said may be more useful for heart failure situations.

CardioGene also recently published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation a gene promoter useful for expressing genes only in blood vessel smooth muscle cells (see BioCentury Sept. 22)....

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