– Leading intellectual property position further strengthened —
Oxford, UK – 9 November 2012: Oxford BioMedica (“Oxford BioMedica” or “the Company”) (LSE: OXB), the leading gene-based biopharmaceutical company, today announces that the Carnegie Institution for Science (“Carnegie Institution”) and the University of Massachusetts Medical School (“UMMS”) have been granted a key US patent for the use of RNA interference (RNAi) to inhibit expression of a target gene in animal cells, including mammalian cells (patent no. US 8,283,329 B2). This patent covers the delivery of RNAi using lentiviral vectors and, as a result, triggers a modest milestone payment by Oxford BioMedica for its exclusive rights to this technology.
Lentiviral vectors are used extensively in drug discovery research for delivery of RNAi to a range of different cell types. In January 2008, Oxford BioMedica signed a license agreement with Carnegie Institution and UMMS which granted the Company rights to key RNAi technology invented by Nobel prize-winning scientists Andrew Z. Fire, PhD, while he was at the Carnegie Institution, and Craig C. Mello, PhD., a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator and the Blais University Chair in Molecular Medicine at UMMS. Dr Fire is now Professor of Pathology and Genetics at the Stanford University School of Medicine. The rights granted are exclusive for RNAi gene silencing using lentiviral vector technology for human gene therapy applications, including the Company’s proprietary LentiVector® platform technology. Under the terms of the agreement, Oxford BioMedica paid an upfront payment and will pay milestone payments, subject to the achievement of key events, and royalties on sales. Further details were not disclosed.
In a separate agreement, originally signed in January 2008, the Carnegie Institution and the UMMS have agreed to subscribe for a total of 7,910,796 ordinary shares of 1p each at £0.024665 per share. Application will be made to the United Kingdom Listing Authority (UKLA) for the newly issued ordinary shares in Oxford BioMedica to be admitted to the Official List of the UKLA and to the London Stock Exchange plc for admission to trading on its market for listed securities. The shares are expected to commence trading on 14 November 2012.
John Dawson, Chief Executive Officer of Oxford BioMedica, said: “The LentiVector®platform is protected by one of the broadest patent estates in the field. Delivering RNAi therapeutics using viral vectors is a promising approach and today’s key patent issue further strengthens our world-leading position in lentiviral vector-based gene therapy strategies.”