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uniQure Collaborates with UCSF on GDNF Gene Therapy in Parkinson's Disease
Date:6/21/2012

AMSTERDAM, June 21, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --

uniQure, a leader in the field of human gene therapy, announced today the signing of a collaborative agreement with two leading neurology experts to develop further a gene therapy incorporating uniQure's GDNF (glial cell derived neurotrophic factor) gene for the treatment of Parkinson's disease.

Professor Krystof Bankiewicz at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), a world expert in GDNF gene therapy, and Professor Howard Federoff of Georgetown University, a preeminent physician-neuroscientist, have developed a product approved to start clinical trials in the U.S. using uniQure's GDNF gene incorporated into an adeno-associated virus-2 (AAV-2) delivery vector. The GDNF gene contains the information to produce a protein necessary for the development and survival of nerve cells. The positive effect of GDNF on nerve cells has already been demonstrated in early research by uniQure in collaboration with the University of Lund, Sweden.  

UCSF entered into a collaboration with Dr. Russell Lonser, neurosurgeon and Chief of the Neurosurgical Branch of the NINDS, a division of the National Institutes of Health, to commence a Phase I study of the gene therapy in patients with Parkinson's disease. Patient enrollment is expected to begin mid-2012. Collaborating on the study will be Drs. Krystof Bankiewicz of UCSF, Howard Federoff of Georgetown University and NINDS co-investigator neurologists Drs. Mark Hallett and Walter Koroshetz.

"This agreement provides uniQure with access to the data from a Parkinson's disease GDNF clinical study conducted by two of the world's leading medical researchers in the field. If successful, we intend to manufacture the vector construct ourselves and with a partner progress the product into advanced clinical studies," said Jörn Aldag, CEO of uniQure. "GDNF has been shown to be involved in several other CNS disorders so if we reach the proof of concept stage
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