Profectus BioSciences, Inc. Receives $5.4M Grant to Develop a Monocolonal Antibody Against Infection by Nipah/Hendra Viruses
Profectus BioSciences, Inc. (Profectus), a leader in the development of therapeutic and preventive vaccines against infectious diseases and cancers, announced today it has received a grant under the Partnerships for Biodefense RFA by the Division of Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, NIH. This $5.4M award supports the preclinical development of m102.4, an antibody intended as a post-exposure prophylactic against Nipah or Hendra virus infection.
Nipah virus (NiV) and Hendra virus (HeV) are closely related Paramyxoviruses that cause a respiratory and encephalitis disease in a variety of animal hosts and in humans. The natural reservoir for these viruses is thought to be flying foxes (bats of the genus Pteropus) found in Southeast Asia and Malaysia. Human infection occurs after exposure to direct exposure to tissues and secretions from infected horses, pigs, and bats. There is currently no approved therapeutics against either NiV or HeV and death is certain for approximately 75% of the cases.
These viruses are classified as biothreat agents by the NIH and CDC and agriculture threat agents by the USDA. In fact, the Meningoencephalitis Virus (MEV-1), the subject of the recent cinematic release “Contagion”, was modeled after the Nipah virus.
M102.4 is a fully human antibody that potently neutralizes all available NiV and HeV isolates in vitro and provides post-exposure protection in several animal models for NiV and HeV infection. M102.4 was first identified in the laboratories of Drs. Christopher C. Broder and Dimiter S. Dimitrov at the Uniformed Services University and the National Cancer Institute respectively. Profectus is developing this antibody in collaboration with Dr. Christopher Broder (USU), and Dr. Thomas Geisbert (Galveston National Laboratory, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston). Profectus is also collaborating with Catalent Pharma Solutions (Middleton, WI) to access their proprietary GPEx® technology to produce high yield mammalian cell lines for cGMP production of m102.4.
Profectus BioSciences, Inc. Profectus BioSciences, Inc. is a technology based vaccine company devoted to the treatment and prevention of chronic viral diseases with the goal of reducing morbidity and mortality. Since its inception in 2003, the Company's strategic intent has been to develop and acquire the technologies needed to deliver on that mission within high value markets. The Company has in-licensed a group of vaccine-based technologies from Wyeth Vaccines (now part of Pfizer, Inc.) that greatly accelerate its ability to deliver highly effective therapeutic vaccines based on a “prime-boost” strategy. This strategy uses the delivery of a best-in-class plasmid DNA (pDNA) vaccine to “prime” the immune system, followed by a first-in-class “boost” using a recombinant Vesicular Stomatitis Virus (rVSV) vector. Current disease and virus targets include Hepatitis C Virus (HCV), Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), Herpes Simplex Virus type 2 (HSV-2), and Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), and Malaria and Ebola and Marburg viruses. For more information, visit www.profectusbiosciences.com.
The Galveston National Laboratory is an academic research center at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, Texas. One of the largest and most sophisticated infectious disease research facilities in the U.S., the GNL utilizes the unique resources of its biosafety level (BSL) 2, 3 and 4 laboratories, to study the diseases making the world's people and animals sick. This research yields better tests, treatments and vaccines for these diseases. The GNL's renowned scientists work collaboratively, both locally and internationally, to advance local discoveries for the infectious diseases impacting global health like SARS virus, West Nile virus, Ebola, Marburg, Nipah, Plague, encephalitis, influenza and a host of others.
Catalent Pharma Solutions. From drug and biologic development services to delivery technologies to supply solutions, Catalent Pharma Solutions has the deepest expertise, the broadest offerings and the most unique technologies in the industry. With over 75 years of experience, Catalent helps customers get more molecules to market faster, enhance product performance, and provide superior, reliable manufacturing and packaging solutions. Catalent employs more than 8,000 people at 20+ facilities worldwide and in fiscal year 2011 generated more than $1.6 billion in annual revenue. Catalent is headquartered in Somerset, NJ. For more information, visit www.catalent.com.
Profectus BioSciences, Inc.
Jeffrey N. Meshulam
Vice President, COO