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News

BTG signs agreement with Avigen to develop Factor IX gene therapy for Haemophilia B

BTG : 18 June, 2001  (Company News)
BTG plc, the global technology commercialisation company, announced today that it has signed a licence agreement with Avigen Inc., a US-based gene therapy company. The agreement covers the use of the gene for Factor IX, an important blood protein, in Avigen's proprietary gene therapy delivery system which it is developing for the treatment of Haemophilia B.
BTG plc, the global technology commercialisation company, announced today that it has signed a licence agreement with Avigen Inc., a US-based gene therapy company. The agreement covers the use of the gene for Factor IX, an important blood protein, in Avigen's proprietary gene therapy delivery system which it is developing for the treatment of Haemophilia B.

The Factor IX gene sequence was discovered by researchers at the University of Oxford and the University of Washington, Seattle and acquired by BTG for commercialisation. Under the terms of the agreement, BTG and its clients will receive a significant upfront payment and milestone payments as the development programme progresses.

Haemophilia B is caused by a deficiency or defect in the Factor IX gene, one of a number of proteins involved in blood clotting. It is an inherited disorder that primarily affects males. Factor IX deficiency results in frequent haemorrhages that can be crippling and life-threatening. There are approximately 13,000 patients with Haemophilia B worldwide.

BTG has licensed the Factor IX portfolio to several other companies. One licensee, Genetics Institute, has developed BeneFIX, the first recombinant protein product for treating Haemophilia B. This product has been successfully launched in North America by GI and in Europe by GI's distributor, Baxter Healthcare.

Dr Geoffrey Porges, BTG's Executive Vice President and Director, Health, Medical & BioTechnologies, said: 'I am delighted that Avigen and BTG have concluded this agreement. This licence reflects the exciting potential of Avigen's proprietary gene therapy technology and of BTG's unique intellectual property commercialisation expertise in gene medicine.'
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