Berlin, December 17th 2002

Research Award for University Ophthalmology Department and Mologen

Prof Friedrich Hoffmann and Dr Er-Ping Zhang of the Ophthalmology Department of the University Hospital Benjamin Franklin and Mologen researchers have been awarded third price of the „Research Award 2002“ in the category “clinical institutions”.

The work thus honored concerns a research project on the suppression of corneal allograft rejection. MIDGE vectors are employed to re-direct the physiological immune response against the transplanted cornea in order to suppress the rejection reaction. The method is currently under investigation in a murine model system.

Prof. Hoffmann and Mologen had previously developed a method to delay the rejection by MIDGE-mediated gene transfer into the transplanted cornea. The essence of the work now recognized is a substantial facilitation of the procedure by injecting the MIDGE vectors into the eyelid.

Corneal graft transplantation is the most frequently practiced transplantation procedure, with 5.000 patients being treated in Germany and 50.000 in the USA annually.

The most important unresolved problem is an immune reaction by which the recipient´s immune system recognizes the grafted cornea as “foreign”. Subsequent initiation of defence mechanisms result in the destruction of the grafted cornea.

Depending on the probability of lasting success of the graft procedure, patients are classified as having a good or bad prognosis. 10% of good and 50% of bad prognosis patients will experience an immune reaction against their graft. The result of such reaction is the opacity of the graft and blindness.

The research group is planning to continue the experiments. A commercial partner is to be found to fund commercial development and licensing of the procedure.

Mologen went public in 1998 as one of the first biotechnology companies in Germany. The shares of Mologen are being traded in the Regulated Market on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange. Mologen has set a goal for itself of making MIDGE the market-dominating format for prophylactic (preventative) and therapeutic (healing) DNA medication for household pets, economically-useful animals and people within the next four years.

contact: Matthias Reichel, phone: +49-30-857 576 0, Fax: +49-30-857 576 50, e-mail: [email protected]


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