To commercialize non-viral gene medicines, it is critical that both vector potency (i.e. therapeutic transgene expression levels) and the duration of the therapeutic effect be improved. Potent dose-sparing extended duration gene therapies will have a cost and efficacy competitive advantage over alternative technologies. In this Phase I proof of concept study, we will create a novel antibiotic-free MiniPlasmid gene therapy platform for extended duration gene therapy. The vectors combine transient expression enhancers that improve transgene expression levels with a novel 270 base pair replication origin-antibiotic free selection cassette that we hypothesize will promote long duration gene expression after vector delivery to the body. The MiniPlasmid platform will be applied to create a wound healing gene therapy product to treat diabetic neuropathic foot ulcers.
In Specific Aims 1 and 2 a high yielding MiniPlasmid fermentation manufacturing platform is created.
In Specific Aim 3 the MiniPlasmid vector platform is validated in vivo for extended duration expression compared to conventional plasmids. A hypoxia- inducible factor 1? (HIF-1 ?) based gene medicine for diabetic foot ulcer treatment is developed utilizing an extended half-life oxygen resistant highly active HIF-1 ? mutant (CA5-HIF-1 ?).
Specific Aim 3 is performed in collaboration with wound healing gene therapy expert Dr. John Harmon at Johns Hopkins University. The MiniPlasmid vector platform is designed to improve transgene expression levels and duration to enable gene medicine development for multiple applications requiring extended duration expression. MiniPlasmid vectors developed in Phase I will be marketed to investigators for a variety of gene therapy applications through publications, trade shows, and the Nature Technology Corporation (NTC) website. In Phase II the HIF-1 ? MiniPlasmid gene therapeutic will undergo preclinical safety and efficacy evaluations for treatment of diabetic foot ulcers prior to clinical development in Phase III.
The objective of this proposal is to develop a novel antibiotic-free non-viral MiniPlasmid gene therapy platform for extended duration gene therapy, and as such is responsive to NIGMS SBIR high-priority area of interest in development of improved vectors for gene transfer. The vectors combine transient expression enhancers that improve transgene expression levels with a novel replication origin-antibiotic free selection cassette that affords long duration gene expression after gene delivery to the body. The platform will be applied to create a wound healing gene therapy product to treat diabetic neuropathic foot ulcers.