June 4, 2007
The Institut Pasteur and Cellectis announce the grant of a key European patent covering the use of homologous recombination in eukaryotes
Cellectis expands existing solid IP portfolio with major patent
Paris and Romainville, France - In a joint statement with its licensee (Cellectis S.A.), the Institut Pasteur today announced that it has been granted a broad European patent (number EP 0 682 112 B1) related to the use of homologous recombination processes in eukaryotes. The patent covers a "Method for Activating Expression, or Improving the Level of Expression of a Gene". As of today, Cellectis counts 65 patents and patents applications.
This major patent is part of a very broad portfolio belonging to the Institut Pasteur and to the CNRS, with inventors being Dr Philippe Brulet and Dr Hervé Le Mouellic. It partially covers gene insertion and gene silencing - techniques which are widely used in both academic and private research laboratories. This type of operation enables researchers to understand the function of a specific gene in vivo - an indispensable step, now that the genomes of many different species have been sequenced. Gene insertion and silencing techniques can also be used to modify cells and make them more predictive, more relevant tools for screening therapeutic molecules - a fundamentally strategic approach at a time when North American and European regulatory authorities have launched programs aimed at accomplishing this challenge ("Critical Path" in the US and "Innovative Medicine" in the EU).
This patent follows grant of another European patent EP 419 621, three US Patents (numbers 6,528,313, 6,528,314 and 6,638,768) and three Japanese patents (JP 3059481, JP 3298842 and JP 3298864) covering homologous recombination in eukaryotes. The patent issued on April 4th, 2007 by the European Patent Office claims a "procedure for specific replacement of a copy of a gene present in the genome of a receiver eukaryote organism by the integration of a gene different from the inactivated gene. Preferably, the receiver gene should be present in at least two copies in the host transfected cell. The receiver gene is defined as the gene where the insertion of the different gene will occur".
’This new patent is essential for the generation of knock-out/knock-in animals and cells used as screening models in protein production and therapeutic applications’ commented André Choulika, Cellectis’ CEO. ’Our already strong initial position in the European, US and Japanese markets is growing stronger still, as Cellectis builds up its ability to target any gene in any species using meganucleases with modified specificity’.
"We are very pleased by the grant of this new patent which strengthens the intellectual property position of Institut Pasteur in this field" says Alain Guédon, Executive Vice President , Business Development at the Institut Pasteur. "This provides a tremendous advantage for Cellectis - our licensee and spin-off - and consolidates its dominant position in rational genome engineering."
The Institut Pasteur, Paris (France) is a world-leading, non-profit, private foundation dedicated to the prevention and treatment of infectious diseases through scientific and medical research, education and public health activities. Its main campus, in Paris, houses 146 research units and laboratories, with a total of 2500 people. Since December 2000, the Institut Pasteur has hosted biotech start-ups in the Pasteur BioTop business incubator. Each company benefits from the campus’ various facilities (legal and IP advice, technology platforms, the scientific environment, etc...) and shared-access services and equipment for up to two years. In the last five years, Pasteur BioTop has hosted more than 15 start-up companies, among the most successful in France.
Cellectis SA (www.cellectis.com) is a world-leading company in genome engineering and genome surgery. It focuses on developing new tools for rational reverse genetics and targeted recombination. In particular, Cellectis designs meganucleases (small proteins) that cut DNA at a highly precise, chosen location in a genome and nowhere else. Genomic DNA breaks are repaired naturally by the DNA maintenance system present in all living organisms. Cellectis combines the ability of meganucleases to cut DNA at a single, chosen location with natural DNA repair, in order to offer new-generation products for a wide spectrum of applications:
Human health: Meganucleases that target a gene responsible for a genetic disease are transferred into human cells, together with a DNA repair matrix which includes the correct sequence for the mutated gene. After the DNA break occurs (which takes just a few minutes), the right sequence is copied into the genome of the patients’ cells and the gene is thus repaired. This process - termed "genome surgery" - has a defined time-frame of action with permanent effects. All other transferred material is degraded by natural mechanisms.
Agrobiotech: The same process used in human healthcare can be applied to plants, with the objective of replacing one gene by another, modifying the gene or shutting it down. The applications developed using Cellectis’ technology are essentially focused on improving agronomic features of crops, producing new generations of biofuels and developing better biofibers.
BioProduction: BioProduction is the production of therapeutic proteins and antibodies using bacteria, yeasts or mammalian cells (mouse, hamster and human cells). This multibillion market has an annual growth rate of over 15%. Cellectis has developed meganucleases that cut the DNA of major production cell lines used in BioProduction, thus enabling the end users (contract manufacturing organizations and biopharmaceutical companies) to shorten their cell line engineering processes, stabilize production yields and thus improve the quality and features of the final product.
In the long term, Cellectis intends to become the global leader in genome engineering. To this end, Cellectis is seeking to establish its rational genome engineering approach (based on meganucleases with modified specificity) as an industry standard.
In the short and medium term, Cellectis intends to achieve profitability by commercializing its technology (primarily in the agrobiotech and bioproduction fields) and, in parallel, building its own therapeutic pipeline (thus providing shareholders with medium- and long-term value).
To date, Cellectis has entered into more than 45 deals on its genome engineering technologies with major players in the pharma, biotech and agrobiotech industries. Cellectis is listed on the Euronext Alternext market (ticker code: ALCLS). The company currently has 45 staff, including 17 PhDs. For more information on Cellectis, visit our web site: www.cellectis.com.
For further information, please contact:
Marc Le Bozec
Tel.: + 33 (0) 1 41 83 99 00
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102 route de Noisy - F-93235 - Romainville Cedex
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