Introgen Therapeutics has announced an alliance with Colgate-Palmolive to develop and potentially market oral health care products. The terms of the alliance call for the development of specialized formulations of Introgen’s molecular therapies targeted at pre-cancerous conditions of the oral cavity and oral cancer.
According to the press release, the research and development activities in the alliance will be conducted by Introgen and will focus on oral formulations of Introgen’s molecular therapeutics employing tumor suppressor genes such as p53, mda-7, and FUS1. Introgen has already conducted a phase 1 clinical study using INGN 234, a mouthwash formulation delivering the p53 tumor suppressor for oral cancer prevention in patients diagnosed with leukoplakia, a pre-cancerous condition that can lead to oral cancer. Leukoplakia has an incidence of approximately 3 percent of the adult population.
“We are enthusiastic about the opportunity to apply Introgen’s molecular agents to develop oral care products with Colgate-Palmolive,” stated David G. Nance, Chief Executive Officer of Introgen. “We believe future commercial applications of therapeutic genes will include topical formulations such as those developed for oral use under the alliance with Colgate. The tissues lining the oral cavity may be particularly well suited and accessible targets for molecular therapies that can arrest abnormal cell growth without harming normal cells. We believe that repair of damaged cells and safe elimination of malignant or pre-malignant cells from the mouth could represent important therapies for dentists, oral health professionals and oncology specialists to prevent and treat oral diseases. We expect to investigate new formulations of oral rinses, gels or other topically applied products under the Colgate alliance.”