IBT and Stanford Awarded STTR

IBT and Stanford Awarded STTR for HCV Therapeutic Antibodies

Integrated BioTherapeutics (IBT) and Stanford University have been jointly awarded a $300,000 Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases of the National Institutes of Health. The goal of the grant is to develop a highly effective immunotherapeutic to prevent Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) reinfection in liver transplant patients based on antibodies that limit the ability of the virus to escape treatment via mutations.

Up to 170 million people worldwide are chronically infected with HCV, putting infected individuals at significant risk for cirrhosis, liver failure, and liver cancer. Chronic infection is poorly controlled by current antiviral treatments though there is new optimism with two recent FDA-approved direct acting antivirals, telaprevir and boceprevir. These drugs, however, are not recommended in the transplant setting due to likely adverse drug-drug interactions.

A mounting body of evidence suggests that virus neutralizing antibodies are protective for HCV and this project will determine if blocking HCV entry with such antibodies is a viable strategy to prevent reinfection. A key challenge is that HCV is highly diverse and exists as a swarm of quasispecies in the infected host, potentially enabling the virus to generate escape mutants. The risk is thought to be more severe in transplants due to error-prone replication in the allograft. The work at IBT and Stanford will minimize this risk by targeting conserved epitopes, specifically on the E2 glycoprotein, a strategy that has shown promise in early lab tests against diverse HCV strains.

Dr. Kelly Warfield of IBT and Dr. Steven Foung of Stanford are joint principal investigators of the new program, officially titled Immunotherapeutics to prevent HCV reinfection. "We are extremely excited to be working with Dr. Foung to target HCV infections," said Dr. Warfield, "His antibodies have tremendous promise to broadly neutralize HCV so I'm looking forward to applying IBT's expertise in virology and antibody development in an effort to realize this potential and add to our therapeutics pipeline."

Dr. Foung's lab will generate the antibodies and perform virologic assays. Once a sufficiently protective antibody has been generated it will be tested for protection in HCV-infected chimeric mice that contain human liver cells. IBT will perform the antibody production, purification, and biochemical characterization, as well as the animal testing, lending a wealth of experience with animal models of infection. It is anticipated that IBT and Dr. Foung will jointly file for patent protection on antibodies that successfully demonstrate proof of the concept.

Publications

A "Trojan Horse" Bispecific Antibody Strategy for Broad Protection against Ebolaviruses. Wec, A.Z. Nyakatura, E.K. Herbert, A.S. Howell, K.A. Holtsberg, F.W. Bakken, R.R. Mittler, E. Christin, J.R. Shulenin, S. Jangra, R.K. Bharrhan, S. Kuehne, A.I. Bornholdt, Z.A. Flyak, A.I. Saphire, E. Crowe Jr., J.E. Aman, M.J. Dye, J.M. Lai, J.R. Chandran, K. (2016) Science 8(2016). doi: 10.1126/science.aag3267

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Feverish Quest for Ebola Immunotherapy: Straight or Cocktail?  Aman, M.J. Saphire, EO. (2016) Trends Microbiol 10(1016). pii: SD966-842X(16)30049-X

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Zika Virus: A New Animal Model for an Arbovirus.  Aman, M.J. Kashanchi, F. (2016) PLoS Negl Trop Dis 10(5): e0004702. doi:10.1371/journal.pntd.0004702

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Virus-Like Particle Vaccination Protects Nonhuman Primates from Lethal Aerosol Exposure with Marburgvirus (VLP Vaccination Protects Macaques against Aerosol Challenges).  Dye JM, Warfield KL, Wells JB, Unfer RC, Shulenin S, Vu H, Nichols DK, Aman MJ, Bavari S. Viruses. 2016 Apr 8;8(4). pii: E94. doi: 10.3390/v8040094

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Antibody Treatment of Ebola and Sudan Virus Infection via a Uniquely Exposed Epitope within the Glycoprotein Receptor-Binding Site.  Howell KA, Qiu X, Brannan JM, Bryan C, Davidson E, Holtsberg FW, Wec AZ, Shulenin S, Biggins JE, Douglas R, Enterlein SG, Turner HL, Pallesen J, Murin CD, He S, Kroeker K, Vu H, Herbert AS, Fusco ML, Nyakatura EK, Lai JR, Keck ZY, Foung SKH, Saphire EO, Zeitlin L, Ward AB, Chandran K, Doranz BJ, Kobinger GP, Dye JM, Aman MJ. (2016) Cell Reports 15, 1–13.

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Monoclonal antibody therapy for Junin virus infection.  Zeitlin L, Geisbert JB, Deer DJ, Fenton KA, Bohorov O, Bohorova N, Goodman C, Kim D, Hiatt A, Pauly MH, Velasco J, Whaley KJ, Altmann F, Gruber C, Steinkellner H, Honko AN, Kuehne AI, Aman MJ, Sahandi S, Enterlein S, Zhan X, Enria D, Geisbert TW. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2016 Apr 19;113(16):4458-63.

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Aman MJ, Chasing Ebola through the Endosomal Labyrinth:, MBio, 2016, 7(2):e00346-16

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Holtsberg et al., Pan-ebolavirus and Pan-filovirus Mouse Monoclonal Antibodies: Protection against Ebola and Sudan Viruses, J Virol, 2014

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Keck et al., Macaque Monoclonal Antibodies Targeting Novel Conserved Epitopes within Filovirus Glycoprotein, J Virol, 2014

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Adhikari et al., Antibodies to S. aureus LukS-PV Attenuated Subunit Vaccine Neutralize a Broad Spectrum of Canonical and Non-Canonical Bicomponent Leukotoxin Pairs, PLoS One, 2015

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Fusco et al., Protective mAbs and Cross-Reactive mAbs Raised by Immunization with Engineered Marburg Virus GPs, PLoS Pathog, 2015

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Warfield et al., Homologous and heterologous protection of nonhuman primates by Ebola and Sudan virus-like particles, PLoS One, 2015

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Sully et al., A tripartite cocktail of chimeric monoclonal antibodies passively protects mice against ricin, staphylococcal enterotoxin B and Clostridium perfringens epsilon toxin, Toxicon, 2014

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Warfield et al., Vaccinating captive chimpanzees to save wild chimpanzees, Proc Natl Acad Sci USA, 2014

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Aman and Adhikari, Staphylococcal bicomponent pore-forming toxins: targets for prophylaxis and immunotherapy, Toxins, 2014

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Karauzum et al., Structurally designed attenuated subunit vaccines for S. aureus LukS-PV and LukF-PV confer protection in a mouse bacteremia model, PLoS One, 2013

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Adhikari et al., Lower antibody levels to Staphylococcus aureus exotoxins are associated with sepsis in hospitalized adults with invasive S. aureus infections, J Infect Dis, 2012

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Adhikari et al., Novel structurally designed vaccine for S. aureus α-hemolysin: protection against bacteremia and pneumonia, PLoS One, 2012.

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