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Toronto, Canada

The invention provides compositions and methods for the prophylaxis or treatment of diseases or disorders in a subject (e.g., a mammal, such as a human) including, e.g., diseases or disorders caused by biological agents, autoimmune diseases, and cancer. The compositions include a delivery vector (e.g., a viral vector, such as an Ad5 vector) encoding an interferon (e.g., IFN-), and are provided to the subject by, e.g., intranasal or pulmonary administration.

Gowen B.B.,Utah State University | Ennis J.,Defyrus Inc. | Sefing E.J.,Utah State University | Wong M.-H.,Utah State University | And 2 more authors.
Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy | Year: 2012

Punta Toro virus (PTV; Bunyaviridae, Phlebovirus) is related to Rift Valley fever virus (RVFV), a pathogenic agent which causes severe disease in humans and livestock primarily in the sub-Saharan region of Africa. The recent range expansion of RVFV and the potential for its intentional release into naïve populations pose a significant threat to public health and agriculture. Studies modeling disease in rodents and nonhuman primates have shown that PTV and RVFV are highly sensitive to the antiviral effects of alpha interferon (IFN-α), an important component of the innate antiviral host response. While recombinant IFN-α has high therapeutic value, its utility for the treatment of neglected tropical diseases is hindered by its short in vivo half-life and costly production of longer-lasting pegylated IFNs. Here, we demonstrate extended preexposure protection against lethal PTV challenge following a single intranasal administration of DEF201, which is a replication-deficient human adenovirus type 5 vector engineered to constitutively express consensus IFN-α (cIFN-α) from transduced host cells. DEF201 was also efficacious when administered within 24 h as a postexposure countermeasure. Serum concentrations of cIFN-α could be detected as early as 8 h following treatment and persisted for more than 1 week. The prolonged antiphlebovirus prophylactic effect, low production costs, and ease of administration make DEF201 a promising agent for intervention during natural disease outbreaks and for countering possible bioterrorist acts. Copyright © 2012, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.

Gowen B.B.,Utah State University | Ennis J.,Defyrus Inc. | Russell A.,Utah State University | Sefing E.J.,Utah State University | And 2 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2011

Several arenaviruses can cause viral hemorrhagic fever, a severe disease with case-fatality rates in hospitalized individuals ranging from 15-30%. Because of limited prophylaxis and treatment options, new medical countermeasures are needed for these viruses classified by the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) as top priority biodefense Category A pathogens. Recombinant consensus interferon alpha (cIFN-α) is a licensed protein with broad clinical appeal. However, while cIFN-α has great therapeutic value, its utility for biodefense applications is hindered by its short in vivo half-life, mode and frequency of administration, and costly production. To address these limitations, we describe the use of DEF201, a replication-deficient adenovirus vector that drives the expression of cIFN-α, for pre- and post-exposure prophylaxis of acute arenaviral infection modeled in hamsters. Intranasal administration of DEF201 24 h prior to challenge with Pichindé virus (PICV) was highly effective at protecting animals from mortality and preventing viral replication and liver-associated disease. A significant protective effect was still observed with a single dosing of DEF201 given two weeks prior to PICV challenge. DEF201 was also efficacious when administered as a treatment 24 to 48 h post-virus exposure. The protective effect of DEF201 was largely attributed to the expression of cIFN-α, as dosing with a control empty vector adenovirus did not protect hamsters from lethal PICV challenge. Effective countermeasures that are highly stable, easily administered, and elicit long lasting protective immunity are much needed for arena and other viral infections. The DEF201 technology has the potential to address all of these issues and may serve as a broad-spectrum antiviral to enhance host defense against a number of viral pathogens. © 2011 Gowen et al.

Smee D.F.,Utah State University | Wong M.-H.,Utah State University | Russell A.,Utah State University | Ennis J.,Defyrus Inc. | Turner J.D.,Defyrus Inc.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2011

An adenovirus 5 vector encoding for mouse interferon alpha, subtype 5 (mDEF201) was evaluated for efficacy against lethal vaccinia virus (WR strain) respiratory infections in mice. mDEF201 was administered as a single intranasal treatment either prophylactically or therapeutically at doses of 10 6 to 10 8 plaque forming units/mouse. When the prophylactic treatment was given at 56 days prior to infection, it protected 90% of animals from death (100% protection for treatments given between 1-49 days pre-infection), with minimal weight loss occurring during infection. Surviving animals re-challenged with virus 22 days after the primary infection were protected from death, indicating that mDEF201 did not compromise the immune response against the initial infection. Post-exposure therapy was given between 6-24 h after vaccinia virus exposure and protection was afforded by a 10 8 dose of mDEF201 given at 24 h, whereas a 10 7 dose was effective up to 12 h. Comparisons were made of the ability of mDEF201, given either 28 or 1 day prior to infection, to inhibit tissue virus titers and lung infection parameters. Lung, liver, and spleen virus titers were inhibited to nearly the same extent by either treatment, as were lung weights and lung hemorrhage scores (indicators of pneumonitis). Lung virus titers were significantly (&100-fold) lower than in the placebo group, and the other infection parameters in mDEF201 treated mice were nearly at baseline. In contrast, viral titers and lung infection parameters were high in the placebo group on day 5 of the infection. These results demonstrate the long-acting prophylactic and treatment capacity of mDEF201 to combat vaccinia virus infections. © 2011 Smee et al.

Smee D.F.,Utah State University | Wong M.-H.,Utah State University | Hurst B.L.,Utah State University | Ennis J.,Defyrus Inc. | Turner J.D.,Defyrus Inc.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2013

An adenovirus 5 vector encoding for mouse interferon alpha, subtype 5 (mDEF201) was evaluated for efficacy against lethal cowpox (Brighton strain) and vaccinia (WR strain) virus respiratory and systemic infections in mice. Two routes of mDEF201 administration were used, nasal sinus (5-μl) and pulmonary (50-μl), to compare differences in efficacy, since the preferred treatment of humans would be in a relatively small volume delivered intranasally. Lower respiratory infections (LRI), upper respiratory infections (URI), and systemic infections were induced by 50-μl intranasal, 10-μl intranasal, and 100-μl intraperitoneal virus challenges, respectively. mDEF201 treatments were given prophylactically either 24 h (short term) or 56d (long-term) prior to virus challenge. Single nasal sinus treatments of 106 and 107 PFU/mouse of mDEF201 protected all mice from vaccinia-induced LRI mortality (comparable to published studies with pulmonary delivered mDEF201). Systemic vaccinia infections responded significantly better to nasal sinus delivered mDEF201 than to pulmonary treatments. Cowpox LRI infections responded to 107 mDEF201 treatments, but a 106 dose was only weakly protective. Cowpox URI infections were equally treatable by nasal sinus and pulmonary delivered mDEF201 at 107 PFU/mouse. Dose-responsive prophylaxis with mDEF201, given one time only 56 d prior to initiating a vaccinia virus LRI infection, was 100% protective from 105 to 107 PFU/mouse. Improvements in lung hemorrhage score and lung weight were evident, as were decreases in liver, lung, and spleen virus titers. Thus, mDEF201 was able to treat different vaccinia and cowpox virus infections using both nasal sinus and pulmonary treatment regimens, supporting its development for humans. © 2013 Smee et al.

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