Winston-Salem, NC -- These agreements will advance the development of organs and tissues to treat human diseases and disabilities.
Under a multi-year, multi-million-dollar agreement, Tengion will provide funding to Wake Forest for research to be conducted at the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine under the direction of Anthony Atala, MD, an internationally recognized expert in the field of regenerative medicine and the William Boyce Professor and Chair of the Department of Urology at Wake Forest University School of Medicine.
The primary focus of the research will be on creating “neo-organs” and tissues. Neo-organs and tissues are derived from a patient’s own cells that are grown on a scaffold or model that is bioresorbable, or can be absorbed by the body. These neo-organs become functional replacements after being implanted in the patient’s body. Since they come from a patient’s own cells (autologous cells) there is virtually no risk of rejection from the body’s immune system.
Tengion has a licensing agreement to develop and market technology that Atala developed while he was at Children’s Hospital Boston, Harvard University’s pediatric teaching hospital. The company is on track to begin clinical trials of its first product, a neo-bladder, by the end of 2006.
Tengion will fund research projects at the institute that focus on vascular and genitourinary (relating to the urinary organs or their functions) applications. A second agreement provides an exclusive worldwide license or option for Tengion to develop any technology that results.
Richard H. Dean, MD, president and CEO of the Wake Forest University Health Sciences, said, “The research and license agreements with Tengion will formalize our relationship with a leading company in the field of regenerative medicine and will accelerate our efforts to bring our scientific advances from the laboratory to patients in need.”
Steven Nichtberger, MD, president and CEO of Tengion Inc., said, “This collaboration will allow us to work more closely with some of the leading regenerative medicine researchers in the world and accelerate our efforts to make regenerative medicine products a reality for patients.”
Atala, whose 15 years of work creating organs and tissues has been widely published in peer reviewed journals, has received numerous awards and honors, including the US-Congress-funded Christopher Columbus Foundation Award, bestowed on a living American who is currently working on a discovery that will significantly affect society, and the Scientific American, Research Leader Award, for his contributions to tissue and organ regeneration. Atala is the founding scientist and chairman of Tengion’s Scientific Advisory Board and serves on its board of directors.
Headquartered in King of Prussia, Penn., Tengion has research offices and a development laboratory in Winston-Salem. The Institute for Regenerative Medicine will locate in Piedmont Triad Research Park in January.
Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center