Markherz Inc.(CEO Lee Seung-min) announced on September 8 that it had obtained a domestic patent for an AAV gene delivery system that uses a promoter that specifically binds to and expresses therapeutic genes in cerebrovascular endothelial cells.
Markherz has secured core technology related to the AAV vector system that efficiently delivers drugs to brain tissue or cerebral blood vessels. This technology will enable the company to achieve a high level of safety and efficiency in developing AAV gene therapy for various brain diseases, such as dementia, stroke, brain cancer, and Huntington’s disease. The company is also applying for PCT patents for this technology in the United States and Germany.
Gene therapy drugs generally consist of a therapeutic gene and a vector. More than 3,500 therapeutic genes have recently been developed, but there is a global shortage of vectors to deliver them to the correct therapeutic cells. Markers, specializing in AAV vector development, has secured all AAV vector-related technologies, such as AAV vector target screening technology, AAV target engineering technology, and AAV automated mass production technology. If the company succeeds in mass production of vector carriers, it will be able to expand its business.
The company has also proven the efficacy of its AAV vector technology in treating Duchenne muscular dystrophy and preventing atherosclerosis by using an animal model. The company demonstrated that surface engineering of AAV vector can induce neutrophils in blood vessels or prevent plaque formation by expressing Anxa1 in endothelial cells. This technology has been introduced in international journals such as Nature Medicine (2020) and Advanced Science (2022).
With an eye on global collaboration, Markherz is aligning with a top-tier German clinical laboratory renowned in gene therapy circles to advance AAV vector applications in myocardial and cardiovascular tissues. In tandem, the company is set to embark on collaborative research with a premier cardiovascular research institute in Korea, aiming to perfect AAV gene therapies for diabetic foot treatment.
Strategically based in Pangyo Techno Valley, Markherz expanded its global footprint with a new branch in Frankfurt, Germany, in 2023. The firm is actively forging alliances with European counterparts, marrying Korea’s digital ICT prowess with Germany’s biotech innovations. The future looks promising, with plans to erect a state-of-the-art digital and biotech facility on the cards.
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