VGX Animal Health, Inc. announced that data demonstrating the effectiveness of its plasmid-based growth hormone releasing hormone (pGHRH) technology was recently published in the peer-reviewed journal Molecular Therapy in a paper entitled, "A Comparison of the Growth Responses Following Intramuscular GHRH Plasmid Administration Versus Daily Growth Hormone Injections in Young Pigs."

This study was conducted by VGX Animal Health scientists in conjunction with the Children's Nutrition Research Center, a cooperative venture between Baylor College of Medicine, Texas Children's Hospital and the U.S. Department of Agriculture/Agricultural Research Service. It was partly funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Research Initiative.

Piglets treated twice daily for eight weeks with a currently used injectable porcine growth hormone (GH) were compared to piglets treated with a single injection of a DNA plasmid capable of expressing the naturally occurring form of porcine GHRH. The injection was followed by electroporation, which uses electrical fields to dramatically increase cellular uptake of the GHRH plasmid and expression of the GHRH.

Data generated in the study confirmed that both GH and pGHRH treatments were highly effective in increasing daily lean weight gain. Importantly, piglets in the pGHRH treatment group had the added benefit that they did not require daily hormone injections and did not experience the increases in organ weight associated with GH therapy. This study demonstrated that a single pGHRH treatment could be a viable alternative to currently used GH therapies in pigs as well as other species.

Dr. Doug Kern, VP, Business Development of VGX Animal Health, stated, "This is the first time a single dose of a plasmid-based growth hormone releasing hormone therapy has been directly compared to daily injections of growth hormone. Based on the results of our work, the health and growth of food animals was dramatically increased using this technology. The clear benefits to the animal and relative ease of administration warrant the assessment of this technology for application to pigs and other animals currently being administered daily injections of growth hormone."

Kevin Rassas, President of VGX Animal Health, stated, "The growth responses observed in piglets with administration of the pGHRH plasmid technology, i.e. without direct administration of GH, are a significant improvement over the daily use of growth hormone or growth hormone analogs. These results suggest that this new application could be an important complement to our LifeTide® product, which is also based on VGX's pGHRH technology. We continue market development efforts for LifeTide® SW 5 in Australia and efforts to secure regulatory approval for LifeTide® SW 5 in new markets."

VGX Animal Health's GHRH product for pigs, LifeTide® SW 5, is administered as a once in a lifetime treatment for use in sows of breeding age. Licensing studies completed in Australia demonstrated a significant decrease in perinatal mortality and morbidity, resulting in an increase in sow productivity and the number of pigs weaned per sow. LifeTide® SW 5 is the world's first therapeutic plasmid delivered by electroporation to be approved for use in food animals. The product was approved in Australia in January 2008 by the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority.

VGX Animal Health

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