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Industry, University Deal Moves Novel Cancer Treatment Forward

Abstract artwork of DNA strand in front of math equations

What happens when you put two great biomedical discoveries together? An innovative approach to fighting a major disease.

The University of Minnesota has combined its own patented gene delivery technology with cancer therapies discovered by the University of Texas’ M.D. Anderson Cancer Center to create a first-of-its kind nonviral gene therapy treatment that targets cancer by supercharging a patient’s immune system. The collaborative approach of pooling separate intellectual property underlying two distinct sets of technologies created by two institutions is uncommon for research universities, representing a strong commitment in working together to tackle the grand challenge of cancer.

The institutions’ combined technology recently spurred a landmark $100 million exclusive licensing deal with biotech company Intrexon Corp. and pharmaceutical company Ziopharm Oncology. The deal, a key part in getting the treatment to market, paid the U of M and M.D. Anderson up front for use of the technology instead of designating royalties to be paid after product launch years in the future. A portion of the funds will be shared with the U of M, which will provide substantial support for future research.

For more about the U of M’s contribution, a DNA-based gene delivery platform called “Sleeping Beauty” developed by Perry Hackett, professor of genetics, cell development and biology and a member of the Masonic Cancer Center’s Genetic Mechanisms of Cancer Program, and his co-inventors, see the full story in CBS Connect.

Kevin Coss

Kevin Coss

Kevin is a writer with the Office of the Vice President for Research.

coss@umn.edu

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