Gene Therapy Startup Immusoft Grows, Gets Access to Critical Technology with Acquisition of Discovery Genomics

Immusoft's process for programming cells to treat disease. (Graphic: Business Wire)

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SEATTLE & MINNEAPOLIS--()--Immusoft Corporation, a Seattle, Wash.-based gene therapy company, announced today it has purchased Minneapolis, Minn.-based Discovery Genomics, Inc. The acquisition brings to Immusoft renowned scientific expertise and key technology, the Sleeping Beauty Transposon System, which Discovery Genomics uses to deliver genes into cells without using a virus.

“We welcome the Discovery Genomics team,” says Matthew Scholz, CEO and founder of Immusoft. “Our two companies share a culture of innovation and a desire to change the way many diseases can be treated. It is my hope and expectation that combining our expertise and technology will help us in this pursuit.”

R. Scott McIvor, Ph.D., Discovery Genomics’ CEO, says he and his company are pleased with the acquisition.

“This is something that we’ve thought through carefully,” says McIvor. “We’re all very excited to join the Immusoft team. It’s thrilling and the right step. We couldn’t have chosen a better partner.”

Immusoft has developed a way to use a patient’s immune cells to cure disease. Its Immune System Programming (ISP™) technology reprograms patient B cells to treat diseases, including MPS I, a rare genetic lysosomal storage disease expected to be its first clinical application.

The company says the Sleeping Beauty Transposon System will be critical to its ability to pursue its disease treatment protocols.

“Our acquisition of Discovery Genomics gives us the ability to use the Sleeping Beauty Transposon System with B cells and our ISP platform,” says Scholz. “It is a non-viral vector that is vastly more scalable and much less expensive than a virus.”

Other technologies for gene therapy, such as adeno-associated virus (AAV) vectors, are much less appealing as a treatment option. AAV vectors rely on injecting a virus into the patient, typically can only be done once and can be expensive. Even when viral vectors are used outside the body, as is commonly done with lentiviral and retroviral vectors, they still cost far more to manufacture compared to non-viral vectors.

The Sleeping Beauty Transposon System was invented in the lab of Perry Hackett, Ph.D., a founder of Discovery Genomics. For his part, Hackett can’t wait to see Immusoft use it.

“It is simply amazing to see the wild success of the Sleeping Beauty Transposon System in treating certain types of cancer using CAR-T cells. We think its success in gene therapy can be replicated in the B cell space, and Immusoft is clearly the best company out there,” says Hackett.

The acquisition announced today gives Immusoft a license to use the Sleeping Beauty Transposon System for MPS I, and license options for hemophilia and inherited lysosomal storage disorders.

ABOUT IMMUSOFT

Immusoft Corporation’s (immusoft.com) mission is to treat diseases using its breakthrough technology platform called Immune System Programming (ISP™). The technology instructs a patient’s cells to produce gene-encoded medicines (biologics). Cells that are reprogrammed using ISP™ become miniature drug factories that are expected to survive in patients for many years. Founded in 2009, Immusoft is based in Seattle, Wash.

FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

Statements in this press release that are not strictly historical are forward-looking statements as defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements are based on management's current plans, estimates and projections. Immusoft Corporation undertakes no obligation to update any forward-looking statement in light of new information or future events. Actual results or outcomes may differ from those implied by the forward-looking statements as a result of a number of operational, scientific, regulatory and related risks and uncertainties.

Contacts

for Immusoft Corporation
Mike Wussow, 615-953-7705

Release Summary

Immusoft, which has developed a way to use a patient's immune cells to treat disease, has acquired Discovery Genomics. The acquisition brings key technology to the Seattle-based gene therapy company.

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Contacts

for Immusoft Corporation
Mike Wussow, 615-953-7705