DNA2.0 Teams Up With Penn Gene Therapy Program On Optimizing Gene Expression For HIV-1 Vaccine

Menlo Park, CA
Wednesday, November 14, 2012

DNA2.0, the leading bioengineering solutions provider, today announced a collaboration with the Gene Therapy Program at the Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, to evaluate the impact of gene optimization on in vivo protein expression. DNA2.0’s patented GeneGPS™ technology will be utilized to optimize in vivo protein expression. The research partnership will primarily support the program’s work on HIV-1 vaccine development, although the results are likely applicable to a wide range of gene therapy approaches.

Understanding the gene preferences of differentiated tissues is critical to maximize the efficacy of gene therapies. The Gene Therapy Program, under the direction of James M. Wilson, MD, PhD, professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, focuses on developing effective gene transfer vectors derived from recombinant viruses and their application in the treatment of a variety of acquired and inherited diseases. Much of the program's current effort is in the development and optimization of new adeno-associated virus vectors.

“Gene optimization is a viable and under-appreciated method to improve transgene expression in gene therapy, and we are excited to evaluate the technology of DNA2.0 in our vector systems,” said Dr. Wilson.

DNA2.0’s technology concentrates on the influence of gene design on expression in mammalian cell lines. However, the gene preferences of tissues in vivo may be distinct from cultured production cell lines and may differ between different target tissue.

Dr. Wilson’s vaccine research team is a member of the Collaboration for AIDS Vaccine Discovery (CAVD), an international network of scientists and experts dedicated to designing a variety of novel HIV vaccine candidates and advancing the most promising candidates to clinical trials. CAVD is funded by grants from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

“Gene therapy approaches, such as those studied in Dr. Wilson’s lab, require optimal calibration of therapeutic protein expression levels in vivo. DNA2.0’s GeneGPS is the industry’s only gene optimization approach that utilizes machine learning methods to experimentally optimize expression levels for any application,” said Mark Welch, PhD, Director of Gene Design for DNA2.0. “We have successfully applied GeneGPS technology to optimize expression in a variety of hosts, including bacterial, fungal, plant and mammalian cell lines.  We are especially interested in teaming with the Gene Therapy Program at Penn to extend our expertise to in vivo tissues, where cost savings and expression control are critical to the success of gene therapies for some of our most intractable diseases.”


About DNA2.0

DNA2.0 is the leading bioengineering solutions provider. Founded in 2003, DNA2.0 offers an integrated pipeline of solutions for the research community, including gene design, optimization, synthesis and cloning, as well as platforms for protein and strain engineering. It is the fastest provider of synthetic genes—based in the US with a global customer base encompassing academia, government and the pharmaceutical, chemical, agricultural and biotechnology industries. DNA2.0 is by far the most published synthetic gene vendor, providing expert support to and collaboration with scientists. DNA2.0 explores novel applications for synthetic genes and is exploiting the synergy between highly efficient gene design and synthesis processes and new protein optimization technologies. DNA2.0’s tools and solutions are fueling the transformation of biology from a discovery science to an engineering discipline. The company is privately held and is headquartered in Menlo Park, Calif. For more information, please visit www.DNA20.com.