Thursday July 12, 6:30 am Eastern Time Press Release Molecular Therapeutics Journal Highlights Third-Generation Antisense Technology AVI BioPharma Inc.'s Chief Scientist chosen to co-edit themed issue focused on oligonucleotides PORTLAND, Ore.--(BW HealthWire)--July 12, 2001-- AVI BioPharma, Inc. (Nasdaq:AVII - news; Nasdaq:AVIIW - news; Nasdaq:AVIIZ - news), is pleased to announce participation of Patrick L. Iversen, Ph.D., its Senior Vice President of Research and Development, in the June 2001 issue of Current Opinion in Molecular Therapeutics.
The publication is a bimonthly, peer-reviewed scientific journal focused on the latest developments in clinical applications of gene therapy and related issues.
According to the journal's lead editorial overviewing the oligonucleotide field, third-generation antisense technology like the NEUGENE� antisense compounds being developed by AVI, has come of age. Supported by research articles published in the issue, the editorial emphasized, ``This is the year antisense technology begins to change the worlds of medicine, functional genomics and toxicology.''
Dr. Iversen was chosen to serve as co-editor and contributor for the issue as a result of his extensive antisense research work with both second and third-generation compounds. He joined AVI in 1997 from the University of Nebraska Medical Center.
Articles highlighted in this issue cover all the key elements of the field and address questions raised through research with prior generations of the technology. These elements include specificity, stability, delivery and efficacy. In the editorial, Iversen and co-editor John Goodchild of the University of Central Florida said, ``the sequence databases are available, there are extensive choices of oligomer chemistry, the model systems are sufficiently sophisticated and the translations to medical applications are in progress.''
Currently Iversen leads AVI teams working in all these areas. The Company's recent agreement with Exelixis, experts in comparative genomics and model systems genetics, solidified AVI's reputation as a functional genomics company working to define gene function in vivo and simultaneously develop therapeutics based on that work. Additionally, AVI's work in metabolic redirection, or the use of antisense technology to alter the body's drug breakdown machinery, further emphasizes the Company's immersion in the field.
Clinical applications of the technology in other research areas discussed in the Journal are also underway at AVI. The Company's proprietary third-generation NEUGENE� antisense technology is currently involved in two studies -- cancer and restenosis. AVI plans to add additional areas of study into its human clinical trials program in the near future.
Current Opinion in Molecular Therapeutics is overseen by a scientific editorial board and includes invited and peer-reviewed contributions from leaders internationally recognized in their field, with a focus on clinical developments in gene transfer therapeutics. It encompasses all developments in the field of gene therapy, oligonucleotides, gene delivery systems, vectors, genomics and proteomics. Abstracts of articles printed in the June 2001 issue of Current Opinion in Molecular Therapeutics are available at http://www.current-drugs.com.