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Moffitt Cancer Center signs licensing agreement with Proteacel, LLC

Tampa, FL (March 18, 2010) Moffitt Cancer Center and Proteacel LLC announced today that they have entered a licensing agreement under which Proteacel has acquired the exclusive rights to the PORE technology for delivery of genes into cells.

Genes are the instructions that build cells. Defects in these genes cause disease, such as cancer. In order to understand how these genes work and their involvement in a disease process, researchers must study and modify them. The most common way to study gene function is to transfer the gene into cells. Transfection is the process of introducing foreign DNA, or genes, into cells. This fundamental process is critical in conducting medical research. However, low rates of transfection and high levels of cell death currently create bottlenecks.

Under the direction of Dr. Deepak Agrawal, Moffitt researchers have developed a proprietary technology that dramatically improves the functionality and performance of transfection technology. The patented Perforation Optimization and Repair Enhancement, or PORE, solves a number of immediate problems in the use of transfection by creating a higher level of efficiency and cell viability. This is particularly valuable for stem cells and primary cells that are the most medically relevant and the most difficult to transfect.

"I am very pleased that the PORE technology will be made available to researchers throughout the world," Agrawal said. "We believe PORE will fuel biological discovery by allowing more effective use of stem cells and primary cells for research, drug discovery and development of cell therapies."

"Proteacel's initial business activity will have Proteacel contracting to transfect specific hard to transfect cell lines with identified DNA," said Dr. Joseph Zendegui, president and chief operating officer of Proteacel. "Target customers for this service will be academic institutions and biotechnology companies in the biomedical research field. Using PORE as our technology base, we will expand our efforts into development and commercialization of drug discovery, cell differentiation assays."

"We are excited to see this technology move from the research labs here at Moffitt Cancer Center into the capable hands of Proteacel for the continuation of its development," said Ray Carpenter of Moffitt's Office of Technology Management and Commercialization. "Further, our office will remain focused on bridging entrepreneurs and Moffitt's faculty to cultivate local start-up company opportunities."

Under the terms of the License Agreement, Proteacel will pay Moffitt license fees, milestone payments and royalties on sales of PORE products and services.


Contact: Michelle Foley
H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute

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