BASLE, Switzerland--Sandoz Ltd. has entered into a merger agreement with Genetic Therapy, Inc (Gaithersburg, Md) with a cash tender offer valued at $295 million. The acquisition "puts Sandoz at the forefront of gene therapy technology," said Daniel Vasella, MD, CEO of Sandoz Pharma.
In other news, Genetic Therapy announced the start of a gene therapy trial in multiple myeloma patients who have relapsed after allogeneic BMT. Investigators from the University of Arkansas and Genetic Therapy will perform an ex vivo transfer of the thymidine kinase gene into the original marrow donor's T cells, making these cells susceptible to destruction by ganciclovir(Drug information on ganciclovir) (Cytovene). These cells will then be infused into the patient.
Because data indicate that a graft vs myeloma effect can precede graft vs host disease (GVHD), 3 weeks after infusion of the donor T cells, ganci-clovir will be administered to destroy the T cells that cause GVHD. Patients who do not achieve a complete remission will receive another infusion of donor T cells, followed by ganciclovir only if significant GVHD develops.