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GEN News Highlights : Oct 26, 2010

Techulon Licenses Theranostic Transfection Reagent from Virginia Tech

New reagent will complement flagship Glycofect product.

Transfection reagents firm Techulon inked an exclusive license deal with Virginia Tech Intellectual Properties to market a new traceable theranostic transfection reagent developed by Thereas Reineke, Ph.D., Techulon’s consulting scientist, head of the Reineke Group, and a professor in the college of science at Virginia Tech. The firm says the new product will complement its existing Glycofect™ transfection platform. Techulon also plans to launch another biodegradable reagent, for siRNA delivery, later this year.

Techulon’s flagship product is Glycofect, a plasmid DNA transfection reagent also developed by Dr. Reineke and manufactured by Techulon under an exclusive license. The firm’s license covers other biopolymers invented by Dr. Reineke that are optimized for the delivery of genetic materials such as siRNA.

Glycofect is a cationic carbohydrate-containing synthetic polymer based on the poly-glycoamidoamine polymer library developed by Dr. Reineke’s group. When formulated with a nucleic acid, the polymer compacts the genetic material into a positively charged nanoparticle suitable for cellular uptake. Techulon claims Glycofect displays high delivery efficiency and low cytotoxicity in comparison with lipid- and polycation-based products, a factor that is particularly important for the transfection of often scarce primary cell types, the firm claims.

Beneficial features of the Glycofect approach hinge on the fact that the carrier degrades in cytoplasm to release the gene once it has been internalized into the cell. This essentially protects the cargo from degradation or immune attack until it has reached the internal cell compartment.

Techulon says it aims to exploit its transfection reagent expertise to create custom transfectants for scientists working with unusual sizes and forms of molecules.