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Amsterdam Molecular Therapeutics Successfully Lowers Cholesterol In Vivo With Enhanced Novel MicroRNA AAV Gene Therapy

October 25, 2010

AMSTERDAM, October 25, 2010 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — Amsterdam Molecular
Therapeutics (AMT) Holding N.V. (Euronext: AMT), a leader in the development
of gene based therapies, today announced that its gene therapy product
incorporating siRNA sequences into microRNA scaffolds to silence
Apolipoprotein B100 (AAV-miApoB) was able to significantly lower plasma
cholesterol levels in vivo over a period of 18 weeks. These preliminary
results suggest that this approach could lead to a treatment for high
cholesterol in humans.

“Successful hepatocyte-specific delivery of microRNA (miRNA) and
significant demonstration of gene silencing again illustrates the strength of
AMT’s AAV platform. We announced previously success with our short hairpin
RNA targeting ApoB (shApoB) gene product but our newest data suggests our
miRNA product is proving to be even better and safer,” stated Jorn Aldag, CEO
of AMT. “Certainly of the two approaches, the natural characteristics of
miRNA, such as prolonged stable long term expression, undetectable toxicity
profile, tissue specificity, as well as the significant efficacy, suggest a
more favorable route to a viable treatment for high cholesterol. This future
application of our technology may circumvent some of the delivery issues with
the RNA approach. We intend to seek partners to exploit the full AAV
technology potential in the RNA field.”

Using its proprietary adeno-associated viral vectors (AAV), a single
injection of AAV-miApoB transduced murine hepatocytes almost entirely and
resulted in a reduction of total plasma cholesterol of 60-80% for an 18 week
period. AAV delivery of miRNA, expressed from a liver-specific promoter,
constitutes the second powerful approach by which AMT has demonstrated to
lower plasma cholesterol, together with AMT’s AAV shApoB gene therapy product
tested in the same model of the disease. In our new approach, we went one
step further and limited the expression of the inhibitory miApoB molecule
only to the hepatocytes, which provides a higher safety profile, a feature
very important for future clinical applications. Data were presented at the
Hepatocyte User Group and Medicon Valley Hepatocyte User Forum (22-23
October) in Montpellier, France, and at the European Society for Gene and
Cell Therapy Annual Conference (22-25 October) in Milan, Italy.

In the new study, mice received intra-venous injections with equal doses
of 1011 gc per animal AAV-shApoB or AAV-miApoB and were examined for 18
weeks. Expression of the shApoB and miApoB resulted in 90% ApoB protein
knock-down, associated with 80% cholesterol decrease in murine plasma for the
first 6 weeks. However, after 8 weeks the effect of the shApoB started to
wear off, while miApoB remained effective in ApoB and cholesterol reduction
for up to 18 weeks. Ongoing research aims to determine the mechanism for the
differences seen between long-term AAV-shApoB and AAV-miApoB efficacy in
murine livers. We believe that the long-term stability of the miApoB is due
to its lower toxicity and off-target properties compared to shApoB because
expression of miApoB is specifically limited to hepatocytes.

ApoB100 is the structural protein of Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL)
particles that carry cholesterol. Silencing the activity of ApoB100 with
miRNA or shRNA lowers plasma LDL-cholesterol by 60-80% and has the potential
to be used to treat hypercholesterolemia and associated cardiovascular
disease.

About Amsterdam Molecular Therapeutics

AMT is a leader in the development of human gene based therapies. Using
adeno-associated viral (AAV) derived vectors as the delivery vehicle of
choice for therapeutic genes, the company has been able to design and
validate what is probably the first stable and scalable AAV production
platform. This proprietary platform can be applied to a large number of rare
(orphan) diseases that are caused by one faulty gene. Currently, AMT has a
product pipeline with several AAV-based gene therapy products in LPLD,
Hemophilia B, Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, Acute Intermittent Porphyria, and
Parkinson’s Disease at different stages of research or development. AMT was
founded in 1998 and is based in Amsterdam.

Certain statements in this press release are “forward-looking statements”
including those that refer to management’s plans and expectations for future
operations, prospects and financial condition. Words such as “strategy,”
“expects,” “plans,” “anticipates,” “believes,” “will,” “continues,”
“estimates,” “intends,” “projects,” “goals,” “targets” and other words of
similar meaning are intended to identify such forward-looking statements.
Such statements are based on the current expectations of the management of
AMT only. Undue reliance should not be placed on these statements because, by
their nature, they are subject to known and unknown risks and can be affected
by factors that are beyond the control of AMT. Actual results could differ
materially from current expectations due to a number of factors and
uncertainties affecting AMT’s business. AMT expressly disclaims any intent or
obligation to update any forward-looking statements herein except as required
by law.

SOURCE Amsterdam Molecular Therapeutics B.V


Source: newswire



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