The National Institutes of Health has once again renewed a five-year contract with the University of Pennsylvania’s gene therapy program, which will receive $13 million to support the advancement of gene-therapy research to the clinic.
The contract was awarded by National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute to what operates as the Gene Therapy Program Preclinical Vector Core in the Perelman School of Medicine at Penn.
The contract will support the preclinical vector production, analytics, and immunology services the Core provides to approved scientific investigators from Penn and other institutions. The Core is directed by gene therapy expert Dr. James M. Wilson, director of Penn’s Orphan Disease Center. Vectors are used to deliver gene therapies in patients with conditions resulting from missing or malfunctioning genes.
“The field of gene therapy is finally hitting its stride, and this is exactly the time for the NIH to be providing a robust infrastructure to promote the rapid acceleration of discoveries into clinical trials,” Wilson said.
During its first 10 years of NIH support, the Core handled more than 100 requests for research-grade vector production and 10 requests for immunology services for developing gene therapies for a variety of disorders, including cardiovascular, blood, lung, genetic, and infectious disease.