GenVec, Inc. said Wednesday it is partnering with Dr. David T. Curiel and his team at the School of Medicine at Washington University in St. Louis to develop new, highly targeted, adenovector-based therapeutics and vaccines.
With this partnership, the united teams will develop modified versions of the gorilla adenovectors previously made by GenVec. These adenovectors use specialized targeting antibodies on the vectors’ surfaces, which are only produced by alpacas, camels, and similar camelids. In comparison to the human or mouse counterparts, these vectors are both smaller and more stable when placed in intracellular environments.
Washington University at St. Louis has done in vitro research using lab-grown human cells to demonstrate that camelid antibodies can be used to target genetically engineered viruses specifically to cancer cells.
"Dr. Curiel is a world-class leader in the field and we are excited to collaborate with him and his outstanding team," GenVec Chief Scientific Officer Douglas E. Brough said. "The ability to create highly targeted versions of our adenovectors isolated from mountain gorillas would give GenVec a host of new opportunities for the discovery of new therapeutics and vaccines to address a broad spectrum of diseases."
Curiel serves as the director of the Biologic Therapeutic Center as well as the Cancer Biology Division, which is part of the Department of Radiation and Oncology at Washington University at St. Louis.
"We think GenVec's proprietary adenovectors are the ideal gene delivery vehicle to complement our novel targeting technology," Curiel said. "We look forward to exploring a wide range of applications of this powerful combination."