Genprex Inc (NASDAQ:GNPX), a company developing non-viral delivery for gene therapy in cancer treatments, said Monday that a recently published scientific paper shares its confidence in the safety of non-viral options.
In a statement, the firm noted that the paper, published by researchers in Australia, Spain and Austria, presented data from a biomolecule-metal-organic framework in zeolitic imidazolate framework-8 — read: non-viral — and found it to work as a viable vehicle for gene delivery and intracellular transfection.
The nanotechnology Genprex uses is different and the company was not involved in the study, but its chairman and chief executive officer Rodney Varner said it is confident for non-viral delivery in general. The paper, which appeared in the September 4 issue of the journal Small, was entitled 'Encapsulation, Visualization and Expression of Genes with Biomimetically Mineralized Zeolitic Imidazolate Framework-8 (ZIF-8)'.
Varner added: “One of the biggest differentiators between Genprex and other gene therapy companies developing technologies to treat cancer and other serious diseases is our proprietary non-viral nanoparticle delivery system, which has already been used to safely treat more than 50 patients to date."
“Most gene therapy research has been focused on using viral delivery systems to deliver genes to cancer cells, and today most approved gene therapies for non-blood cell therapies use a viral vector to deliver the gene to the patient. Our proprietary non-viral delivery system enables us to potentially treat patients with a system that may be safer, with lower production costs and better scalability,” he added in the statement.
The problems with viral delivery, the company said, include a history of adverse reactions, high production costs and difficulty scaling treatment. That’s one reason why Genprex’s founders partnered with the National Institute of Health to develop its proprietary non-viral system.
Genprex’s technology administers cancer-fighting genes intravenously within hollow spheres called nanovesicles. Then, the nanovesicles are taken up by tumor cells, where they express proteins that are missing or in low quantity.
A Phase 1 trial showed that Genprex’s lead drug Oncoprex targeted primary and metastatic tumor cells. Trials have also demonstrated its safety in humans even at high therapeutic doses.
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