FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – September 30, 2004

 

Revivicor Inc. receives $1.8 Million Grant from ATP (NIST) for Human Polyclonal Antibody Production in Pigs for Use in the Treatment of Infectious Disease

 

Revivicor Inc., a regenerative medicine company, and World-leader in the development of products from cloned pigs for biomedical applications, is pleased to announce that it has received a $1.8 million grant from the from the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Advanced Technology Program (ATP).  The project supported by this grant is focused on utilization of Revivicor’s platform technologies in gene knockout and somatic cell nuclear transfer to inactivate the antibody producing genes (otherwise known as immunoglobulin genes) in pigs, and replacing them with the human equivalents, such that the pig serves as a bioreactor to make fully-human, broad-spectrum, polyclonal antibodies in large volumes in its blood. 

 

This technology has the potential to revolutionize the treatment of infectious disease in humans, to an even greater extent than the advent of antibiotics, since the antibodies can be made against not only bacteria, but also against viruses, antibiotic resistant agents, fungal infections, and toxins.  In addition, intravenous immunoglobulin (IvIg) products will be produced for treatment of autoimmune disease (MS, arthritis), for cancer applications, and for immunosuppressed  transplant patients.  The project was initiated with support from the U.S. Department of Defense’s Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) for development of treatments against biowarfare agents such as anthrax.  The military applications will continue to be a priority for the Company.  David Ayares, Revivicor’s CEO stated, “Receiving this grant from ATP is an important validation of the vast commercial potential of this technology, and critical to our goals of producing next-generation antibody-based therapeutics.”

 

Revivicor (formerly PPL Therapeutics Inc.) is best known for its lead products in xenotransplantation; namely the development of compatible organs, cells, and tissues from pigs for transplantation into humans.  The Company was the first group to clone pigs in 2000, and the first to clone knockout pigs that lacked both copies of a gene (alpha 1,3 gal transferase) responsible for hyperacute rejection.  Revivicor has an ongoing collaboration with Dr. David Cooper and other scientists at the University of Pittsburgh and the Thomas E. Starzl Transplant Institute on pre-clinical development of whole organ (heart and kidney) therapeutics, and has an active collaboration, funded in part by the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF), with Dr. Massimo Trucco, at the Childrens’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, on the development of cellular therapeutics from its genetically modified pigs for treatment of Type I diabetes.

 

Revivicor has offices in Blacksburg, Virginia, located in the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center, and in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, using facilities supported in part by the Pittsburgh Lifescience Greenhouse.

 

For more information, contact:

David Ayares, PhD

Revivicor Inc.

1700 Kraft Drive, Suite 2400

Blacksburg, VA  24060

(540) 961-5559

Notes to editors:

 

Revivicor was formed in April 2003, as spinout of the US division of PPL Therapeutics Inc., with a private placement led by the UPMC Health System (Pittsburgh), Highmark Health Ventures L.P., and Fujisawa Investments for Entrepreneurship, L.P. The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) is a non-profit, comprehensive academic health care system affiliated with the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences. It is considered the leading integrated health care delivery system in Western Pennsylvania and is one of the largest health systems in the United States. UPMC consists of a network of 19 tertiary, specialty and community hospitals and has more than 35,000 employees, making it the largest employer in Western Pennsylvania.  The University of Pittsburgh, in affiliation with the Thomas E. Starzl Transplantation Institute is the number one transplant center in the World. Highmark Health Ventures, L.P. is a leading venture capital firm, also based in Pittsburgh.  Fujisawa Pharmaceutical Company, one of the leading pharmaceutical companies, has lead drugs in the area of immunosuppression for transplant patients. 

 

The Advanced Technology Program, managed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, provides cost-shared funding to industry for high-risk R&D projects with the potential to spark important, broad-based economic benefits for the United States. The awards are made on the basis of a rigorous peer-reviewed selection process. For more information,

visit the ATP web site, www.atp.nist.gov.

 

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