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Groundbreaking, potentially curative gene therapy shown to transform alpha cells in the pancreas into functional beta-like cells is potentially applicable to both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes
Genprex, Inc. ("Genprex" or the "Company") (NASDAQ: GNPX), a clinical-stage gene therapy company focused on developing life-changing therapies for patients with cancer and diabetes, announces today that the Company has been selected to receive the inaugural "License of the Year" award from the University of Pittsburgh Innovation Institute (UPII) in recognition of the advances made with its license from University of Pittsburgh toward progressing the development of its gene therapy for diabetes.
In February 2020, Genprex signed an exclusive license agreement with the University of Pittsburgh for an innovative gene therapy technology developed by lead researcher, George Gittes, M.D. at the Rangos Research Center at the University of Pittsbugh Medical Center ("UPMC") Children’s Hospital. The diabetes gene therapy candidate, GPX-002, which is being evaluated in preclinical studies, reprograms alpha cells in the pancreas into functional beta-like cells, thereby replenishing levels of insulin and providing the potential to cure the disease. The novel infusion is by means of an endoscopic procedure that delivers Pdx1 and MafA genes to the pancreas. The genes express proteins that transform alpha cells in the pancreas into functional beta-like cells, which can produce insulin but are distinct enough from beta cells to evade the body’s immune system.
"We thank the UPII for acknowledging the breakthrough work of Dr. George Gittes and his team at the Rangos Research Center at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, whose efforts have produced this highly innovative therapeutic approach to treating diabetes that could replace the need for insulin replacement therapy and ultimately lead to a cure of this devastating illness afflicting tens of millions of people around the world," said Rodney Varner, President and Chief Executive Officer of Genprex. "We are honored to receive this recognition, considering the great number of cutting-edge technologies coming out of this distinguished university and research center. We thank UPII for bestowing this honor on our gene therapy license with Dr. Gittes and the Rangos Research Center and applaud them for the groundbreaking gene therapy research being conducted at this esteemed institution."
The "Celebration of Innovation" awards ceremony will be held virtually on April 22, 2021 on the Pitt Innovation Institute YouTube channel at 4:30 p.m ET.
GPX-002 has been tested in vivo in mice and nonhuman primates. In studies in non-obese diabetic mice, a model of Type 1 autoimmune diabetes, the gene therapy approach restored normal blood glucose levels for an extended period of time, typically around four months. According to the researchers, the duration of restored blood glucose levels in mice could potentially translate to decades in humans. If successful, this gene therapy could eliminate the need for insulin replacement therapy for diabetic patients. According to the U.S. Center for Disease Control, 34.2 million Americans, or approximately 10.5% of the population, have diabetes.
About Genprex, Inc.
Genprex, Inc. is a clinical-stage gene therapy company focused on developing life-changing therapies for patients with cancer and diabetes. Genprex’s technologies are designed to administer disease-fighting genes to provide new therapies for large patient populations with cancer and diabetes who currently have limited treatment options. Genprex works with world-class institutions and collaborators to develop drug candidates to further its pipeline of gene therapies in order to provide novel treatment approaches. The Company’s lead product candidate, REQORSA™ (quaratusugene ozeplasmid), is being evaluated as a treatment for non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). REQORSA has a multimodal mechanism of action that has been shown to interrupt cell signaling pathways that cause replication and proliferation of cancer cells; re-establish pathways for apoptosis, or programmed cell death, in cancer cells; and modulate the immune response against cancer cells. REQORSA has also been shown to block mechanisms that create drug resistance. In January 2020, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted Fast Track Designation for REQORSA for NSCLC in combination therapy with AstraZeneca’s Tagrisso® (osimertinib) for patients with EFGR mutations whose tumors progressed after treatment with Tagrisso.
Cautionary Language Concerning Forward-Looking Statements
Statements contained in this press release regarding matters that are not historical facts are "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements are made on the basis of the current beliefs, expectations and assumptions of management, are not guarantees of performance and are subject to significant risks and uncertainty. These forward-looking statements should, therefore, be considered in light of various important factors, including those set forth in Genprex’s reports that it files from time to time with the Securities and Exchange Commission and which you should review, including those statements under "Item 1A – Risk Factors" in Genprex’s Annual Report on Form 10-K.
Because forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties, actual results may differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Such statements include, but are not limited to, statements regarding: the timing and success of Genprex’s clinical trials and regulatory approvals; the effect of Genprex’s product candidates, alone and in combination with other therapies, on cancer and diabetes; Genprex’s future growth and financial status; Genprex’s commercial and strategic partnerships including the scale up of the manufacture of its product candidates; and Genprex’s intellectual property and licenses.
These forward-looking statements should not be relied upon as predictions of future events and Genprex cannot assure you that the events or circumstances discussed or reflected in these statements will be achieved or will occur. If such forward-looking statements prove to be inaccurate, the inaccuracy may be material. You should not regard these statements as a representation or warranty by Genprex or any other person that Genprex will achieve its objectives and plans in any specified timeframe, or at all. You are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date of this press release. Genprex disclaims any obligation to publicly update or release any revisions to these forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, after the date of this press release or to reflect the occurrence of unanticipated events, except as required by law.
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