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GlaxoSmithKline to License Valentis GeneSwitch Technology

NEW YORK, April 12 – GlaxoSmithKline has agreed to non-exclusively license Valentis’ GeneSwitch gene regulation technology for its functional genomics research, the companies said Thursday.

The licensing agreement for GeneSwitch is the second in two months for Valentis, which first licensed the technology to Wyeth-Ayerst Laboratories in February. The GeneSwitch technology controls the expression of a gene in transgenic animals and cell cultures with a trigger that turns the expression of the gene on or off.

“We believe the GeneSwitch technology will accelerate the throughput of genomics research because it has the unique ability to completely control gene expression and assist in the identification and characterization of the function of selected genes,” Gregory McKee, Valentis' senior director of business development, said in a statement. 

The non-exclusive license is for research purposes only, and the companies did not disclose financial details. Valentis, based in Burlingame, Calif., holds all rights to clinical gene therapy applications of GeneSwitch, and is currently applying the technology to a regulated erythropoietin gene therapeutic. Clinical testing of the erythropoietin medicine is expected to begin next year.

Other companies, including London-based Gendaq, are also attempting to commercialize gene regulation technology. Currently, Valentis makes the technology freely available to academic researchers through a collaboration with Invitrogen.  
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