In Cell Art, Sanofi Pasteur and CureVac launch $33.1 million R&D consortium
BUSINESS FRANCE UK
In Cell Art, a biotechnology company specialising in nanocarrier technologies for macromolecules (including DNA and RNA) and in the development of innovative vaccines and antibodies, has announced today the launch of a US$33.1 million research-and-development project — the RN Armor Vax Consortium. In Cell Art, together with Sanofi Pasteur (the vaccines division of the Sanofi-aventis Group) and CureVac (a German biopharmaceutical firm specialising in mRNA-based vaccinations), has established the consortium which will evaluate new applications of In Cell Art’s technology in the development of mRNA-based vaccines against infectious diseases.
Chloé Bellocq, CEO of In Cell Art, comments, “In Cell Art, in its internal projects, as through its collaborative work with the major players in the pharmaceutical sector, is very committed to the development of gene-based vaccines. Our recent results, from the work surrounding treatment and prevention of hepatocellular carcinoma by DNA vaccination, demonstrate the potential of gene-based vaccines in both prophylactic and therapeutic applications.”
The RN Armor Vax Consortium collaborative-research project was selected from amongst various proposals submitted following a call for projects entitled Controlling Cellular Machinery, Vaccines. The four-year project has a total budget of US$33.1 million and will be co-funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA, an agency of the United States Department of Defense).
The project’s objective is to validate a new universal-vaccine-technology platform that develops and evaluates mRNA-based vaccines (for both prophylactic and therapeutic vaccines against infectious diseases), and which will be the first of its kind.
The project will authenticate new applications (such as the elaboration and vectorization of mRNA-based vaccines) of In Cell Art’s nanocarrier technology. It will therefore reinforce the company’s leading position in the nano-transport of macromolecules of DNA and RNA.
In parallel with the RN Armor Vax Consortium project, In Cell Art and Sanofi Pasteur signed a non-exclusive option and licence agreement with pre-agreed licence terms. This agreement will enable Sanofi Pasteur to access In Cell Art’s formulation technologies to develop and commercialise mRNA-based vaccines.
Under the terms of this agreement, In Cell Art should receive an initial payment, along with milestone payments at certain clinical stages, and royalty payments on the sales of products. In Cell Art will also receive revenue from sales of the clinical and commercial nanocarrier products that will be contained in the final vaccines.
Bruno Pitard, co-founder of In Cell Art, explains, “This new agreement demonstrates the importance of our nanocarrier technologies not only for gene-based vaccines that use DNA, but also for mRNA-based vaccines. The project will strengthen the position of In Cell Art as a leading company in the sector and the best choice for the use of nanocarrier technologies to deliver macromolecules DNA and RNA.”
CureVac is a global leader in mRNA-based vaccination technologies. It develops mRNA-based vaccines as therapeutic vaccines in oncology and prophylactic vaccines for infectious diseases.
For further information about CureVac, please go to: www.curevac.com
About The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)
DARPA, established in 1958, seeks to maintain the technological superiority of the US military by funding scientific investigations that span a wide range of activities, from laboratory efforts to the creation of full-scale technology demonstrations in such fields as biology, medicine, computer science, chemistry and physics.
For further information about DARPA, please go to: www.darpa.mil
About Sanofi Pasteur
Sanofi Pasteur, the vaccines division of the Sanofi-aventis Group, offers the broadest range of vaccines, giving protection against 20 infectious diseases. Sanofi Pasteur is the largest company entirely dedicated to vaccines. Every day, the company invests more than €1 million in research and development.
Sanofi Pasteur is listed in Paris (EURONEXT: SAN) and in New York (NYSE: SNY).
For further information about Sanofi Pasteur, please go to: www.sanofipasteur.com
About In Cell Art
In Cell Art, which is headquartered in Nantes (in western France), was founded in 2005 and is a member of the Atlanpole Biotherapies cluster of biotechnology excellence, also based in the west of France.
In Cell Art is a privately held biopharmaceutical company specialising in the preclinical and pharmaceutical development of nanocarriers for macromolecular drugs. With a Nobel Laureate amongst its founders and research team, the company has designed new classes of non-toxic vectors that are organised on a nanometric scale, enabling them to cross the cell barrier efficiently and safely. From these vectors, In Cell Art has developed a range of reagents and biotechnology-development services including ICANtibodies® and ICAFectin® transfection reagents, along with a pipeline of nanocarriers for the formulation and delivery of nucleic acid-based drugs.
In the absence of recombinant antigens, ICANtibodies® allows, from an in silico antigenic sequence, the production of the most ambitious functional antibodies against any natively expressed protein (including excreted, nuclear, cytoplasmic or membrane proteins). With ICANtibodies®, In Cell Art has assisted its clients in the production of more than 150 different functional antibodies, in less than two years.
ICAFectin® transfection reagents are innovative synthetic vectors for in vitro nucleic acid delivery. They are becoming the reagents of choice for efficient DNA and siRNA transfections. This is demonstrated by their increasingly common use in studies published in leading journals including the Journal of Biological Chemistry, Nucleic Acids Research, PLoS ONE, PLoS Pathogens, Human Gene Therapy, Journal of Neurochemistry, Experimental Cell Research and Neoplasia. ICA614 nanocarrier, an innovative DNA synthetic formulation, offers unique, efficient and industrial features such as the dramatic enhancement of the immunogenicity of plasmid DNA-encoding tumours or pathogen-derived antigens, a reduction in the dose of plasmid DNA, as well as an excellent safety profile. ICA614 nanocarrier represents a crucial step in DNA-vaccine development, and is currently being tested by major vaccine companies such as Sanofi Pasteur and Merial Ltd. With R&D programmes in oncology, in infectious diseases, and in cardiovascular diseases, In Cell Art has developed specific nanocarriers that allow efficient delivery of siRNA for the interference with the expression of targeted disease-associated genes.
IN CELL ART works in partnership with, and grants research licences to, companies active in the development of RNAi therapeutic products.
For further information about In Cell Art, please go to: www.incellart.com
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