GAITHERSBURG, Md., March 28 VIRxSYS Corporation willpresent initial scientific data for VRX1023 today at the Keystone SymposiaConference in Banff, Alberta. VRX1023 is part of a new vaccine approach --using HIV-based lentivector as vector boost. VRX1023, an HIV antigenexpressing lentiviral vector, has produced positive results in mice and inpreliminary non-human primate studies. A larger, confirmatory study in RhesusMacaques has been initiated.
"VRX1023 shows exciting promise," says Dr. Franck Lemiale, Director ofResearch and Development, Immunobiology for VIRxSYS. "The results from thesemouse studies are very encouraging. We have seen significant long termresponse against HIV proteins both in terms of cellular immunity, which ismediated by T Lymphocytes, and humoral immunity, which is mediated byantibodies."
VIRxSYS takes a different approach as anti-HIV vaccine than recentlypublicized failed vaccines. The company is using an engineered HIV-basedlentiviral vector to deliver the vaccinating antigens. In small animals, theVRX1023 lentivector has induced long-lasting cellular and humoral responseagainst HIV. Using a DNA prime/vector boost strategy, VIRxSYS has obtainedwith VRX1023 greater anti-HIV immune responses than with other viral vectorboost approaches currently used in the clinic, including adenoviral vectorssimilar to those that have been extensively tested in patients.
The ultimate goal for an anti-HIV vaccine is to suppress the impact of theinitial infection, thereby significantly slowing the process of the disease.Due to the properties of the virus, a traditional total sterilizing goal maynot be achievable for an anti-HIV vaccine. The next step would be to aprophylactic vaccine, which would reduce the impact of hyper-viremia in thefirst weeks of the infection. The aim of this vaccine is to suppress initialviremia, preventing the massive destruction of CD4 T cells, and also to haltthe subsequent slow destruction of the immune system by the latently dormantvirus. Individuals will be protected but not totally sterilized, minimizingthe likelihood of new infections.
"The use of a HIV-based lentiviral vector represents a truly innovativeapproach to anti-HIV vaccine and to all vaccination strategies in general.With VRX1023 in particular, we are turning HIV against itself. We areexploiting the virus ability to efficiently produce proteins for vaccinationpurposes," said Riku Rautsola, PhD, President and CEO of VIRxSYS. "VRX1023presents us with a renewed hope for the delivery of an anti-HIV vaccine."
VIRxSYS is a private biotechnology company using proprietary lentiviralvector delivery and RNA payload platforms to develop therapies for serioushuman diseases. The Company's initial lentiviral delivery technology wasexclusively licensed from The Johns Hopkins University and has beensubstantially advanced in the Company's laboratories. The RNA payloadtechnology was acquired and has been integrated with the Company's lentiviraldelivery technology. In addition to preclinical programs for genetic and otherserious diseases, the Company is currently developing gene and vaccinetherapies for HIV, one of which, VRX496, has advanced to Phase 2 humanclinical trials. More information regarding VIRxSYS can be found atwww.virxsys.com. Details for the Phase II study can be found at the NIHclinical trials website at clinicaltrials.gov/show/NCT00131560.
Contact: Jeneane Smith / Russell LaMontagne