PD-1 Gene Expression Profiles for Drug Development US Patent Awarded to Vaccine and Gene Institute Florida Scientists

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March 2, 2014

The Vaccine and Gene Institute of Florida (VGTI Florida) announced today that the US Patent and Trademark Office awarded VGTI Florida scientists Dr. Rafick-Pierre Sékaly, PhD and Dr. Elias Haddad, PhD U.S. Patent No. 8,647,822 titled ‘Determining whether a test compound modulates PD-1 activity in activated immune cells using gene expression profiles.’

The PD-1 pathway (programmed cell death) is being actively pursued by most of the big pharmaceutical companies due to its critical role as a checkpoint in our immune system’s response to cancer and chronic inflammation. This therapeutic strategy is actively being evaluated in multiple clinical trials such as melanoma, non-small cell lung carcinoma, and HIV. Phase I trials are also under way for breast cancer, metastatic bladder cancer, and head and neck cancer.

“This patent represents a body of research that has been very useful to drug developers working on the PD-1 blockbuster pathway,” said Dr. Sékaly. “Using gene expression profiles of cells allows drug developers to evaluate the cellular pathways that are operating in response to drug candidates.”

Research on this pathway is continuing in Dr. Haddad’s laboratory. “Using the methods taught in this patent allows us to better understand the molecular response and the non-response to drug candidates from an individual patient manner,” said Dr. Haddad.

“We have done a lot of analysis for pharmaceutical companies using this invention and now look forward to licensing this valuable technology,” said Catherine E. Vorwald, MS, MBA, and Executive Director of Marketing & Business Development at VGTI Florida.

The patent, issued on February 11, 2014 was also awarded to the scientists’ co-inventors at the Massachusetts General Hospital. A Canadian Patent Application No. 2,742,926 remains in review.

To explore inventions available for licensing, please visit www.vgtifl.org/inventions or contact Catherine E. Vorwald.

About VGTI Florida:

VGTI Florida is a non-profit biomedical research institute dedicated to understanding the roles of our immune system and our genes in disease, as well as the development of innovative treatments. VGTI Florida is an independent non-profit 501(c)(3) organization located in the Tradition Center for Innovation in Port St. Lucie, Florida. For more information, please visit www.VGTIFL.org. VGTI Florida® and Translating Research into Health® are Registered Trademarks of the Vaccine & Gene Therapy Institute of Florida.

VGTI Florida
Catherine E. Vorwald, 772-345-5633
Executive Director, Marketing and Business Development
cvorwald@vgtifl.org

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