News | June 11, 1999

Biosense Webster To Work With Vascular Genetics On Catheter Delivery System

Johnson & Johnson company Biosense Webster has signed a collaboration agreement with Vascular Genetics Inc. (VGI; Durham, NC) to use a Biosense Webster guided delivery catheter with a VGI gene therapy product to treat cardiovascular disease by angiogenesis.

Biosense Webster will work with VGI to initiate clinical trials by VGI incorporating Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor-2 (VEGF-2), an investigational compound, with a proprietary Biosense Webster intracardiac injection catheter and the Biosense Webster NOGA Cardiac Navigation System.

James W. Dennis, worldwide president of Biosense Webster, said, "This is the third major collaboration announced by our gene therapy delivery program in 1999. Biosense Webster continues to solidify its market leadership position in reporting this collaboration agreement with VGI, an exciting and rapidly emerging gene therapy company."

Initial clinical trials will be undertaken at St. Elizabeth's Medical Center (Boston, MA). Jeffrey M. Isner, M.D., chief, Vascular Medicine at St. Elizabeth's Medical Center, noted: "VEGF-2 has the potential to lead a new generation of medical therapy that repairs and regenerates ischemic, or damaged, cardiac tissue. This collaboration with Biosense Webster gives us access to an advanced delivery system which should improve the probability of success."

The NOGA System is an innovative, FDA-approved, minimally invasive platform for catheter-based intramyocardial navigation and mapping, and is being investigated in conjunction with the Biosense Webster intracardiac injection catheter to inject therapeutic and biologic agents directly into the heart. This system utilizes low intensity, active magnetic field energy and sensor-tipped catheters to locate the position of the catheter in three- dimensional space. Target zones of the heart suffering from inadequate blood supply caused by coronary artery disease are identified by a Biosense Webster mapping catheter prior to localized injection of angiogenic genes or proteins by the newly designed delivery catheter.

Both the gene product under development by VGI and the Biosense Webster injection catheter are experimental and will be tested in clinical trials, then submitted to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration prior to marketing.