HIV-Therapeutics is developing a therapeutic vaccine against HIV infections and AIDS.
HIV-Therapeutics – HTI immunogen as therapeutic vaccine curing HIV infections
More than 35 million people live with HIV today, and 3.3 million of them are children. Although antiretroviral treatments are available to control the viral replication, they do not cure the HIV infection. Furthermore, they are expensive, not always well tolerated, and can generate drug resistances. It is estimated that only 25% of HIV infected patients have their viral load controlled with these antiretroviral treatments. Thus, there is a clear need for new HIV therapies that can lead to a functional cure of the HIV infection. Dr Brander and his team have studied the T-cell responses of 1000 patients and discovered that HIV controllers tend to mount immune responses to certain vulnerable parts of the virus genome. These vulnerable targets, called “the beneficial epitopes”, are located mainly in the HIV gag protein, but include also parts of the pol, vif and nef genes. So HIV-Therapeutics is born with the idea that if one could elicit the right responses in infected non-controllers, these patients could gain the controller status and eventually get rid of the virus by themselves. Therefore, HIV-Therapeutics’ main candidate, HTI immunogen, aims to be the first therapeutic vaccine for curing HIV in infected patients. HTI immunogen has been designed as a polypeptide of 550 amino acids containing at least 55 of the recognized beneficial epitopes against which HIV controllers mount an immune T-cell response controlling viral replication. These epitopes are largely HLA-restriction independent, and correlate with protection against Clade B and Clade C viruses (the common HIV strains in the Western world and in Africa, respectively). HTI immunogen is already in GMP production and HIV-Therapeutics plans to start a Phase 1b study in HIV-infected patients in 2016.
HIV-Therapeutics, based in Barcelona (Spain), was founded by Jordi Naval (CEO) and Christian Brander (CSO). HIV-Therapeutics is a spin-off of the HIVACAT HIV/AIDS Research project. HIVACAT is a joint public and private sector consortium for the development of an effective vaccine against the HIV virus. Composed by two leading AIDS research centers (the Institute for AIDS Research IrsiCaixa and the AIDS and Infectious Diseases Service at Barcelona’s Hospital Clìnic), HIVACAT conducts research into the development of a new HIV vaccine. Both centers carry out research alongside their more than 5.000 patients and combine the clinical and scientific experience of more than 60 researchers. HIV-Therapeutics holds an exclusive license on the HTI immunogen, and has privileged access to HIVACAT resources to conduct the clinical program.
More about HIV-Therapeutics: http://hiv-therapeutics.com