Mymetics' HIV Vaccine Achieves Research Breakthrough, Eliciting Protective Antibody Response in Mucosal Tissues of Non-Human Primate Model
NYON, Switzerland, March 29, 2007 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Mymetics Corporation announced today that the Company's HIV vaccine elicited IgA mucosal antibodies in a non-human primate model. Mucosal IgA antibodies are considered a possible first line of defense against infection by HIV. The data were presented by Sylvain Fleury, Ph.D., Mymetics' Chief Scientific Officer in an oral presentation, "Without Mucosal Adjuvant, Virosomes-gp41 Peptides from the MPR can Elicit Protective Mucosal IgA in Vaccinated Macaques," at the Keystone Symposium, HIV Vaccines: From Basic Research to Clinical Trials. The meeting is being supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
"The results are a striking example of the progress we have seen in applying our vaccine based on the gp41, a well-conserved HIV surface membrane protein," commented Dr. Fleury. "Previously, our team was the first to be able to synthesize a trimeric, soluble and stable formulation of gp41 that could be used in a vaccine. Now, by showing that we can elicit IgA mucosal antibodies in vaginal and rectal tissues, we have taken a major step in being able to prepare materials for a submission to begin studies in human patients. We expect that this submission could take place as early as the third quarter of 2008."
Mymetics also announced that it has signed an exclusive license with Pevion Biotech for the use of Virosomes(R) in the production of its HIV vaccine. Virosomes are a market-approved carrier system for the delivery of pharmaceutically or immunologically active substances, allowing the correct spatial presentation of peptides and proteins and facilitating delivery of Mymetics' HIV vaccine without the use of an adjuvant. Additional details were not disclosed.
Christian Rochet, Mymetics' President and Chief Executive Officer, stated, "We believe that our exclusive agreement with Pevion provides a competitive advantage by allowing us to avoid using an adjuvant for our HIV vaccine. We view this as a strategic advantage since it is our belief that adjuvants have not sufficiently advanced to enter clinical testing for HIV vaccines."
Mymetics Vaccine Program Background
Worldwide, over 85% of HIV infections are the result of sexual transmission in which mucosal tissues from the genital and anorectal regions have been exposed to HIV-1 present in semen or secretions. According to a recent report from the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative, "Since an effective preventive AIDS vaccine will primarily have to protect an individual from sexual transmission of HIV, researchers think it will probably be important for a vaccine candidate to induce strong mucosal immune responses." Mymetics-affiliated researchers have been able to engineer gp41-derived antigens (proteins and peptides) capable of eliciting antibodies, particularly IgA antibodies, with strong potential for preventing in vitro virus translocation across the mucosal barrier and/or to inhibit cell infection, thus preventing HIV-1 infection.
Mymetics has combined three important concepts in its vaccine design: 1- Induction of mucosal and blood antibodies to allow protection in different anatomical compartments and block the early event of HIV translocation at the genito-reproductive and intestine tracts and subsequent infection of target cells underlying the mucosal tissues, thereby preventing HIV entry and spreading in the body. 2- Focusing the immune response against conserved regions on gp41 that may induce protective antibodies against a broad range of HIV clades. Mymetics is developing vaccines that contain antigens expressing limited immunodominant regions, while immunodistractive regions have been removed or altered without affecting the immunogenicity of the antigen. 3- Minimal mimicry. Underlying its vaccine program is Mymetics' key discovery of a fundamental though subtle three-dimensional mimicry between the viral envelope glycoprotein gp41 and the IL-2 cytokine (Interleukin-2) of the infected host. Mymetics strongly believes that it is crucial to prevent the potential induction of cross-reactivity toward self-proteins, such as IL-2, post-vaccination in order to prevent potential long term autoimmune negative side-effects. About Mymetics
Mymetics was founded in 1990 near Lyon, France and was registered as a US (Delaware) public company in 2000. Since August 2003, its operations and research programs have been managed out of Switzerland (Nyon, near Geneva).
Mymetics Common shares trade on NASDAQ's OTC:PK under the symbol MYMX. For more information, please visit the Company's website at http://www.mymetics.com/.
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The statements contained herein which are not based on historical facts are forward-looking statements that involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties that could significantly affect our actual results, performance or achievements in the future and, accordingly, such actual results, performance or achievements may materially differ from those expressed or implied in any forward-looking statements made by or on our behalf. These risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, risks associated with our ability to successfully develop and protect our intellectual property, our ability to raise additional capital to fund future operations and compliance with applicable laws and changes in such laws and the administration of such laws. See Mymetics' Form 10-K for the fiscal years ended December 31, 2005 and December 31, 2006 for a discussion of such risks, uncertainties and other factors. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward- looking statements which speak only as of the date the statements were made.
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Posted: March 2007