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ViroStatics CEO, Franco Lori, MD, Presents Late Breaker on Novel AV-HALT HIV Therapy at the 2011 International AIDS Society Pathogenesis Conference

SASSARI, Italy & PRINCETON, N.J.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Jul 20, 2011 - Franco Lori, MD, CEO of ViroStatics, a private Italian/American biopharmaceutical company developing novel therapeutics for viral and other chronic diseases, today presented an oral ˜late breaker' on the Company's novel AV-HALT platform at the world's largest open scientific conference on HIV/AIDS – the 6th International AIDS Society Conference on HIV Pathogenesis, Treatment and Prevention in Rome. Held every two years, the conference provides a unique opportunity for the world's leading scientists, clinicians, public health experts and community leaders to examine the latest developments in HIV-related research.

Dr. Lori discussed ViroStatics' pioneering AV-HALT technology (AntiViral-HyperActivation Limiting Therapeutics); new drugs designed to not only decrease the amount of HIV in a patient's bloodstream, but also to reduce excessive immune system activation and inflammation. Immune system hyperactivation and resulting inflammation are now recognized as not only driving the loss of CD4+ T helper cells resulting in the progression to AIDS, but also contributing to accelerated aging that continues to plague patients even on today's potent multi-drug anti-HIV “cocktails – a therapeutic “unmet need.”

“It has been thirty years since the first HIV/AIDS cases were reported,” said Dr. Lori. “Since these first reports, the field has made great advances against HIV and learned a lot about how the immune system's response to the virus paradoxically becomes harmful over time. With the possibility of creating a true paradigm shift in the treatment of HIV/AIDS, ViroStatics is recognized as the first mover in developing new drugs that incorporate the latest discoveries in pharmacology and immunology to protect the immune system as it fights HIV and other chronic diseases.”

Dr. Lori reported on 32 HIV-infected individuals who had not yet started anti-HIV treatment. They received VS411, a two-drug, first-generation AV-HALT for 28 days at which time the number of activated CD4+ and CD8+T cells was significantly reduced while the number of naïve cells (cells not yet exposed to the antigen to which they can respond) significantly increased. The highest degree of baseline T cell hyperactivation correlated with the largest decrease in proliferating naïve cells and reconstitution of total naïve cells following AV-HALT therapy.

“CD4+T cell activation causes increased proliferation of naïve and memory CD4+T cells; however, only the naïve cells compartment is depleted,” explained Dr. Lori. “After only 28 days treatment with an AV-HALT, we were able to measure a decrease in the degree of naïve cell proliferation allowing the replenishment of the naïve cell pool. These results suggest that immune system hyperactivation driving disease progression can be specifically, rapidly and effectively reduced by AV-HALTs, resulting in a proportional restoration of the immune system damage. We are now screening for second-generation AV-HALTs that combine both properties in a single molecule.”

About ViroStatics

ViroStatics, a biopharmaceutical company with operations in Sassari, Italy, and Princeton, NJ, is focused on the discovery and development of novel therapeutics known as AV-HALTs (AntiViral–HyperActivation Limiting Therapeutics) to address significant medical needs in HIV/AIDS, chronic infections and related fields. ViroStatics was founded in 2005 as a spin-off of the Research Institute for Genetic and Human Therapy (RIGHT) located in Cambridge, MA.


Contact: ViroStatics
Michael Stevens, PharmD, 609-951-2206
Chief Strategy Officer


Posted: July 2011