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Introgen Therapeutics, Inc.

Drug Names(s): INGN201, Ad5CMV-p53, contusugene ladenovec


Advexin is a replication defective adenovirus vector containing the p53 tumor suppressor gene. It is being developed for head & neck cancer (Phase III), non-small cell lung cancer (NSCL, Phase II) and advanced breast cancer (Phase II). Advexin is injected locally into the tumor.

The p53 Tumor Suppressor Gene and Cancer :  Tumor suppressor genes can be described as the “guardian of the genome”. The various functions of tumor suppressor genes are among the most crucial in controlling abnormal cellular proliferation, and therefore in the prevention of cancer. For example, the p53 gene controls the regulation and expression of several genes involved in DNA repair, cell cycle, angiogenesis, apoptosis, metastasis, and multi-drug resistance. Mutations in the p53 gene that lead to loss of p53 function have been implicated in several cancers. Loss of p53 function leads to inaccurate DNA repair, decreased apoptosis and therefore increased chance of oncogenic growth. Restoration of p53 function in tumor cells results in reversal of the oncogenic state, leading to apoptosis. Besides its ability to induce apoptosis, p53 has other functions that help in controlling tumor growth such as its ability to suppress vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). Expression of VEGF is required for the formation of new blood vessels that are crucial for the spread of the tumor.

Deal Structure: In April 2001 Aventis Pharma and Introgen Therapeutics signed a letter of intent to restructure their existing collaboration arrangement. The restructuring of Aventis Pharma's gene therapy division is part ofAventis Pharma's ongoing strategy to focus on its core areas of prescription pharmaceuticals, vaccines and therapeutic proteins. Introgen will assume responsibility for the worldwide development of all p53 programs under the existing collaboration between the two companies and will obtain exclusive worldwide commercial rights to p53 based gene therapy products, including Advexin. Furthermore, the twocompanies will exchange certain intellectual property, including intellectual property relating to adenoviral technology and the transfer to Aventis of certain intellectual property by Introgen's wholly owned European subsidiary, Gendux.

The collaboration between Aventis Pharma and Introgen began in 1994 and focused on the development of gene therapy with the p53 gene. ...See full deal structure in Biomedtracker

Partners: Sanofi VirRx, Inc.

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