Genetic Therapy shares climb again

March 23, 1995|By Bloomberg Business News

Genetic Therapy Inc.'s shares climbed yesterday for the second day in a row, closing at their highest price since June, after the company won an exclusive patent.

Genetic Therapy, the Gaithersburg biotechnology company, said Tuesday that it won a patent for "ex vivo" gene therapy, which covers a method used to genetically alter human cells outside the body so that they provide therapeutic benefits. The cells are then placed in patients to combat disease.

The company's shares rose $1.75, or 18 percent, to $11.75. There were 711,900 shares traded, 14 times the three-month daily average. The stock gained $1.50, to $10 Tuesday.

Chairman and Chief Executive James Barrett had said he couldn't estimate how much the patent could be worth in royalties but said he expects it to help the company attract corporate alliances.

Like other biotechnology companies, Genetic Therapy is seeking alliances to help finance and market its own products.

Henri Termeer, chairman and chief executive officer of Genzyme Corp. of Cambridge, Mass., which is also developing gene therapy products, said the patent is good news because it shows that the patent office will award patents to biotechnology companies.

Genetic Therapy, founded in 1986, is developing gene therapy treatments for severe diseases such as cancer, cystic fibrosis, Gaucher disease and AIDS.

Placing the genetically altered cell that produces a therapeutic protein into a patient can help the patient fight a disease or correct a genetic defect, the company said.

Ex vivo genetic therapy was developed by a team of researchers headed by Dr. French Anderson and funded by an alliance between Genetic Therapy and the National Institutes of Health.

Genetic Therapy received an exclusive license from the National Institutes of Health to commercialize the technology.

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