Aldevron announces GIA facility expansion

By Wai Lang Chu

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Immune system

Aldevron has announced the expansion of its Genetic Immunisation
and Antibody (GIA) facility to meet the increased demand of vaccine
screening contracts.

The demand has been highlighted by current events that have seen worldwide governments invest in 'biodefense' vaccines and drugs, designed to reduce the public health consequences of a bioterrorism attack.

Additionally, the outbreak of avian flu has hastened the need for an effective vaccine should the situation worsen.

The current 3,500 square foot facility will grow to 6,500 square feet to house the GIA services that combine genetic immunisation with a proprietary DNA delivery technology for generating antibodies to any gene-specific antigen.

Aldevron expect the facility to be filled to capacity immediately and are working to schedule new contracts for openings beginning Q3 2006.

In addition, the contract research organisation has detailed plans for a new support lab, which is currently under construction and will allow for the development of new gene delivery technologies.

"The growth of the GIA facility diversifies the services to our client base and reaches to new clients. It also enables Aldevron to capture both screening and production elements of vaccine testing,"​ said John Ballantyne, Chief Scientific Officer of Aldevron.

Aldevron's proprietary Genetic Immunisation and Antibody (GIA) technology is used to make antibodies and to rapidly screen potential vaccine candidates via DNA-mediated immunisation.

The GIA technology aims to overcome a major obstacle facing the medical profession, which is how to safely deliver effective quantities of these agents to patients to treat disease or for genetic immunisation.

Currently, most pharmaceutical agents are taken orally or intravenously. Oral and intravenous drug and gene delivery methods, however, have several shortcomings.

First, a large per cent of orally or intravenously delivered drugs are degraded by the body before arriving at the target organ or cells.

Acids and enzymes in the stomach and intestine, for example, can break down many pharmaceutical drugs.

Similarly, genes would be rapidly destroyed by proteins found in the blood and liver, which break down DNA.

Additionally, intravenously delivered drugs and genes are often sequestered by the liver or immune system before arriving at the diseased organ or cells.

Second, oral and intravenous drug and gene delivery is non-specific. That is, the drug or gene is delivered to both target and non-target cells.

Currently there is no non-viral method for effectively delivering pharmaceutical drugs, proteins, and DNA into skeletal muscle in vivo.

In 2005, Aldevron and its partners announced over $14m (€11m) in vaccine development contracts. GIA is used by government, academic and industry vaccine groups as well as by researchers who require monoclonal antibodies.

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