IAVI

United States
United States

Time filter

Source Type

News Article | May 18, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) has awarded a new CA$3.99 million grant to Gary Kobinger of Université Laval for work on a vaccine to prevent HIV infection. This three-year grant supports a scientific collaboration between Kobinger and the Design and Development Lab, a state-of-the-art research facility in Brooklyn, New York, operated by the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI). Led by Kobinger and IAVI's Chris Parks, the respective Canadian and U.S. research teams aim to improve upon a promising HIV vaccine candidate designed by Parks, with the goal of advancing the candidate to clinical testing in human volunteers. "We are encouraged by this support of Gary Kobinger's work and the prospects of his collaboration with IAVI's Design and Development Lab," said Mark Feinberg, IAVI CEO. "The innovative work of the Kobinger lab provides a great illustration of how creative and insightful science can advance the global response to emerging infectious diseases, and exemplifies ways in which the benefits of research progress in one disease area can be translated to another, in this case, from an understanding of how to develop an effective Ebola vaccine to the ongoing search for an AIDS vaccine." Using a modified animal virus called Vesicular Stomatitis Virus (VSV) that does not cause disease in humans, the IAVI vaccine candidate delivers copies of a protein taken from HIV's surface. Once inside the body, the protein stimulates protective immune defenses against HIV infection. Studies in animals to date have yielded encouraging results. Kobinger's team will further modify the IAVI candidate vaccine for greater efficacy and clinical testing. An expert in the Ebola virus, Kobinger helped develop the Ebola (rVSV-ZEBOV) vaccine, which to date has proven the most effective at preventing Ebola infection, and which also uses a VSV backbone. "While there is still much work to be done, progress is being made towards finding a vaccine that will protect and eventually eliminate HIV/AIDS, one of the most serious health threats of our time," said Marc Ouellette, Scientific Director, Institute of Infection and Immunity, CIHR. In 2016, more than 2 million people were newly infected with HIV around the world. Though antiretroviral treatment has prolonged life for millions, scientists concur that discovering a vaccine against HIV is the only way to end the AIDS epidemic. By combining their expertise, CIHR and IAVI hope to advance the field of HIV vaccine discovery and to build a more efficient vaccine-development model that can potentially be replicated in other disease areas. Gary Kobinger is world-renowned for his work on the Ebola vaccine and treatment of those affected by the disease. More recently, while Chief of Special Pathogens with the Public Health Agency of Canada's microbiology laboratory in Winnipeg, Kobinger garnered international attention for his efforts to develop a treatment and vaccine against the Zika virus. ABOUT IAVI: Founded in 1996, the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) is a nonprofit organization working to accelerate development of broadly effective AIDS vaccines accessible to all. IAVI works with partners in 25 countries to research, design and develop promising vaccine candidates. We collaborate with governments, partner with pharmaceutical and bio-tech companies, universities, hospitals and civil society organizations, and conduct and support research in North America, Europe, Africa, and India. We strengthen the expertise and infrastructure to fight HIV/AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa, the epicenter of today's epidemic. And we advocate for policies, financing and environments that drive the fastest possible development of AIDS vaccines. Our vision is a world without AIDS, and that world has a vaccine. IAVI's work is made possible by generous support from many donors including: the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark; Irish Aid; the Ministry of Finance of Japan in partnership with The World Bank; the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands; the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD); the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID), and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The full list of IAVI donors is available at http://www. .


News Article | May 18, 2017
Site: www.prnewswire.com

Founded in 2000 as a spin-off from the University of Tϋbingen in Germany, CureVac is a technology leader in the development of drugs that are based on the molecule Messenger RNA (mRNA). The fully integrated biopharmaceutical company has more than 17 years of expertise in handling and optimizing this versatile molecule for medical purposes. The basic principle of CureVac's proprietary technology is the use of mRNA as a data carrier to instruct the human body to produce its own proteins capable of fighting a wide range of diseases. The company applies its technologies for the development of cancer therapies, prophylactic vaccines and molecular therapies. Since its inception, strongly backed by SAP founder Dietmar Hopp's dievini CureVac has received approximately $370 million (€355 million) in equity investments including an investment of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation of $ 52million in 2015. CureVac has entered into various collaborations with multinational corporations and organizations, including agreements with Boehringer Ingelheim, Sanofi Pasteur, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and IAVI. In 2006, CureVac successfully established the first GMP facility worldwide for the manufacturing of mRNA. In 2016 CureVac started the establishment and construction of industrial scale production facilities. For more information, please visit www.curevac.com To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/curevac-to-present-at-upcoming-international-investor-conferences-300460407.html


News Article | May 29, 2017
Site: www.sciencedaily.com

Scientists at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have made another important advance in HIV vaccine design. The development was possible thanks to previous studies at TSRI showing the structures of a protein on HIV's surface, called the envelope glycoprotein. The scientists used these structures to design a mimic of the viral protein from a different HIV subtype, subtype C, which is responsible for the majority of infections worldwide. The new immunogen is now part of a growing library of TSRI-designed immunogens that could one day be combined in a vaccine to combat many strains of HIV. "All of this research is going toward finding combinations of immunogens to aid in protecting people against HIV infection," said TSRI Professor Ian Wilson, Hanson Professor of Structural Biology and chair of the Department of Integrative Structural and Computational Biology at TSRI. The research, published recently in the journal Immunity, was led by Wilson and TSRI Professor of Immunology Richard Wyatt, who also serves as Director of Viral Immunology for the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) Neutralizing Antibody Center at TSRI. The new study was published alongside a second study in Immunity, led by scientists at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, which showed that the vaccine candidate developed in the TSRI-led study can elicit neutralizing antibodies in non-human primates. "Together, the two studies reiterate how structure-based immunogen design can advance vaccine development," said Wyatt. HIV mutates rapidly, so there are countless strains of HIV circulating around the world. Of these strains, scientists tend to focus on the most common threats, called clades A, B and C. Like a flu vaccine, an effective HIV vaccine needs to protect against multiple strains, so researchers are designing a set of immunogens that can be given sequentially or as a cocktail to people so their immune systems can prepare for whatever strain they come up against. In 2013, TSRI scientists, led by Wilson and TSRI Associate Professor Andrew Ward, determined the structure of a clade A envelope glycoprotein, which recognizes host cells and contains the machinery that HIV uses to fuse with cells. Because this is the only antibody target on the surface of HIV, an effective HIV vaccine will have to trigger the body to produce antibodies to neutralize the virus by blocking these activities. Building on the previous original research, the scientists in the new study set out to solve the structure of the clade C glycoprotein and enable the immune system to fight clade C viruses. "Clade C is the most common subtype of HIV in sub-Saharan Africa and India," explained study co-first author Javier Guenaga, an IAVI collaborator working at TSRI. "Clade C HIV strains are responsible for the majority of infections worldwide." The scientists faced a big challenge: the clade C envelope glycoprotein is notoriously unstable, and the molecules are prone to falling apart. Guenaga needed the molecules to stay together as a trimer so his co-author Fernando Garces could get a clear image of the clade C glycoprotein's trimeric structure. To solve this problem, Guenaga re-engineered the glycoprotein and strengthened the interactions between the molecules. "We reinforced the structure to get the soluble molecule to assemble as it is on the viral surface," Guenaga said. The project took patience, but it paid off. "Despite all the engineering employed to produce a stable clade C protein, these crystals (of clade C protein) were grown in very challenging conditions at 4 degrees Celsius and it took the diffraction of multiple crystals to generate a complete dataset, as they showed high sensitivity to radiation damage," said Garces. "Altogether, this highlights the tremendous effort made by the team in order to make available the molecular architecture of this very important immunogen." With these efforts, the glycoprotein could then stay together in solution the same way it remains together on the virus itself. The researchers then captured a high-resolution image of the glycoprotein using a technique called x-ray crystallography. The researchers finally had a map of the clade C glycoprotein. In a companion study, the scientists worked with a team at the Karolinska Institute to test an immunogen based on Guenaga's findings. The immunogen was engineered to appear on the surface of a large molecule called a liposome -- creating a sort of viral mimic, like a mugshot of the virus. This vaccine candidate indeed prompted the immune system to produce antibodies that neutralized the corresponding clade C HIV strain when tested in non-human primates. "That was great to see," said Guenaga. "This study showed that the immunogens we made are not artificial molecules -- these are actually relevant for protecting against HIV in the real world."


News Article | May 26, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

LA JOLLA, CA - May 26, 2017 - Scientists at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have made another important advance in HIV vaccine design. The development was possible thanks to previous studies at TSRI showing the structures of a protein on HIV's surface, called the envelope glycoprotein. The scientists used these structures to design a mimic of the viral protein from a different HIV subtype, subtype C, which is responsible for the majority of infections worldwide. The new immunogen is now part of a growing library of TSRI-designed immunogens that could one day be combined in a vaccine to combat many strains of HIV. "All of this research is going toward finding combinations of immunogens to aid in protecting people against HIV infection," said TSRI Professor Ian Wilson, Hanson Professor of Structural Biology and chair of the Department of Integrative Structural and Computational Biology at TSRI. The research, published recently in the journal Immunity, was led by Wilson and TSRI Professor of Immunology Richard Wyatt, who also serves as Director of Viral Immunology for the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) Neutralizing Antibody Center at TSRI. The new study was published alongside a second study in Immunity, led by scientists at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, which showed that the vaccine candidate developed in the TSRI-led study can elicit neutralizing antibodies in non-human primates. "Together, the two studies reiterate how structure-based immunogen design can advance vaccine development," said Wyatt. HIV mutates rapidly, so there are countless strains of HIV circulating around the world. Of these strains, scientists tend to focus on the most common threats, called clades A, B and C. Like a flu vaccine, an effective HIV vaccine needs to protect against multiple strains, so researchers are designing a set of immunogens that can be given sequentially or as a cocktail to people so their immune systems can prepare for whatever strain they come up against. In 2013, TSRI scientists, led by Wilson and TSRI Associate Professor Andrew Ward, determined the structure of a clade A envelope glycoprotein, which recognizes host cells and contains the machinery that HIV uses to fuse with cells. Because this is the only antibody target on the surface of HIV, an effective HIV vaccine will have to trigger the body to produce antibodies to neutralize the virus by blocking these activities. Building on the previous original research, the scientists in the new study set out to solve the structure of the clade C glycoprotein and enable the immune system to fight clade C viruses. "Clade C is the most common subtype of HIV in sub-Saharan Africa and India," explained study co-first author Javier Guenaga, an IAVI collaborator working at TSRI. "Clade C HIV strains are responsible for the majority of infections worldwide." The scientists faced a big challenge: the clade C envelope glycoprotein is notoriously unstable, and the molecules are prone to falling apart. Guenaga needed the molecules to stay together as a trimer so his co-author Fernando Garces could get a clear image of the clade C glycoprotein's trimeric structure. To solve this problem, Guenaga re-engineered the glycoprotein and strengthened the interactions between the molecules. "We reinforced the structure to get the soluble molecule to assemble as it is on the viral surface," Guenaga said. The project took patience, but it paid off. "Despite all the engineering employed to produce a stable clade C protein, these crystals (of clade C protein) were grown in very challenging conditions at 4 degrees Celsius and it took the diffraction of multiple crystals to generate a complete dataset, as they showed high sensitivity to radiation damage," said Garces. "Altogether, this highlights the tremendous effort made by the team in order to make available the molecular architecture of this very important immunogen." With these efforts, the glycoprotein could then stay together in solution the same way it remains together on the virus itself. The researchers then captured a high-resolution image of the glycoprotein using a technique called x-ray crystallography. The researchers finally had a map of the clade C glycoprotein. In a companion study, the scientists worked with a team at the Karolinska Institute to test an immunogen based on Guenaga's findings. The immunogen was engineered to appear on the surface of a large molecule called a liposome--creating a sort of viral mimic, like a mugshot of the virus. This vaccine candidate indeed prompted the immune system to produce antibodies that neutralized the corresponding clade C HIV strain when tested in non-human primates. "That was great to see," said Guenaga. "This study showed that the immunogens we made are not artificial molecules--these are actually relevant for protecting against HIV in the real world." In addition to Wyatt, Wilson and Guenaga, the study, "Glycine substitution at helix-to-coil transitions facilitates the structural determination of a stabilized subtype C HIV envelope glycoprotein," included co-first author Fernando Garces, Natalia de Val, Viktoriya Dubrovskaya and Brett Higgins of TSRI; Robyn L. Stanfield of TSRI and IAVI; Barbara Carrette of IAVI; and Andrew Ward of TSRI, IAVI and the Center for HIV/AIDS Vaccine Immunology & Immunogen Discovery (CHAVI-ID) at TSRI. This work was supported by the IAVI Neutralizing Antibody Center and Collaboration for AIDS Vaccine Discovery (CAVD; grants OPP1084519 and OPP1115782), CHAVI-ID (grant UM1 AI00663) and the National Institutes of Health (grants P01 HIVRAD AI104722, R56 AI084817 and U54 GM094586). The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) is one of the world's largest independent, not-for-profit organizations focusing on research in the biomedical sciences. TSRI is internationally recognized for its contributions to science and health, including its role in laying the foundation for new treatments for cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, hemophilia, and other diseases. An institution that evolved from the Scripps Metabolic Clinic founded by philanthropist Ellen Browning Scripps in 1924, the institute now employs more than 2,500 people on its campuses in La Jolla, CA, and Jupiter, FL, where its renowned scientists--including two Nobel laureates and 20 members of the National Academies of Science, Engineering or Medicine--work toward their next discoveries. The institute's graduate program, which awards PhD degrees in biology and chemistry, ranks among the top ten of its kind in the nation. In October 2016, TSRI announced a strategic affiliation with the California Institute for Biomedical Research (Calibr), representing a renewed commitment to the discovery and development of new medicines to address unmet medical needs. For more information, see http://www. .


News Article | July 20, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

LA JOLLA - Cows are leaving the pasture and entering the field...of HIV vaccine research. As outlined in a study published today in Nature, lead author Devin Sok, Director, Antibody Discovery and Development at the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI), reports the elicitation of powerful, HIV-blocking antibodies in cows in a matter of weeks - a process that usually takes years in humans. The unexpected animal model is providing clues for important questions at a moment when new energy has infused HIV vaccine research. "One approach to a preventive HIV vaccine involves trying to elicit broadly neutralizing antibodies in healthy people, but so far the experiments have been unsuccessful, in both human and animal studies," said Sok, the study's first author. "This experiment demonstrates that not only is it possible to produce these antibodies in animals, but we can do so reliably, quickly, and using a relatively simple immunization strategy when given in the right setting." Scientists have known for some time that some people living with chronic HIV infection produce broadly neutralizing antibodies (bnAbs), which can overcome the high levels of diversity of HIV. One type of bnAb, first reported in Science in 2009 by IAVI, The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI), and Theraclone, uses long, arm-like loops that are capable of reaching concealed areas on the virus's surface to block infection. Previous experiments led by bovine-antibody expert Vaughn Smider at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) showed that cattle antibodies also feature extra-long loops, which might access difficult epitopes that human antibodies cannot. This feature is relevant for HIV researchers because the virus has a fence of sugars that it uses to prevent most antibodies from reaching its vulnerable sites. Sok is an affiliate of IAVI's Neutralizing Antibody Center (NAC), a part of TSRI where multiple groups of scientists work collectively on an antibody-based HIV vaccine. The NAC is led by scientific director Dennis Burton, Professor of Immunology and Microbiology at TSRI, who is a lead author on the study. Like a bull in a scientific china shop, an alliance of HIV, antibody, and veterinary medicine scientists from IAVI, TSRI and Texas A&M University posed the colorful question: what would happen if we immunized cows with an HIV immunogen? "It's a remarkably simple and profound idea," said Sok, who works closely with Dennis Burton at TSRI. "Since we know that some human bnAbs have longer-than-average loops, would immunizing animals with similar antibody structure result in the elicitation of bnAbs against HIV?" The answer begins with a single protein on HIV's surface that serves as a bnAb target - develop an antibody that recognizes variants of this protein on different HIV viruses and you'll likely be protected from all of them. One of the many tricks that HIV uses to prevent humans from developing the right antibodies is to display irrelevant forms of this protein to distract the immune system. Scientists thought they had overcome this challenge by developing an immunogen called BG505 SOSIP, which closely mimics the protein target. Immunization with this immunogen in macaques, guinea pigs, and rabbits was both encouraging and discouraging - it has elicited very good antibodies against one strain of the virus, but failed to elicit antibodies capable of overcoming HIV's global diversity - until now. All four cows immunized with BG505 SOSIP elicited bnAbs to HIV within 35-52 days. In comparison, it takes HIV-positive humans multiple years to develop comparable responses, and only 5-15% even develop them at all. Cows cannot be infected with HIV, of course. But these findings illuminate a new goal for HIV vaccine researchers: by increasing the number of human antibodies with long loops, we might have an easier chance of eliciting protective bnAbs by vaccination. There is no doubt that cows' ability to produce bNAbs against a complicated pathogen like HIV in a matter of weeks, highlights even broader significance, particularly for emerging pathogens. "Scientific innovations like this are what propel the field forward," said IAVI CEO Mark Feinberg. "This surprising set of results warrants further exploration and has potential applications not only to HIV prevention and treatment, but to the rapid development of antibodies and vaccines against other infectious diseases." This work was made possible with support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Collaboration for AIDS Vaccine Discovery (BMGF CAVD), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the National Science Foundation (NSF), and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA). For members of the media attending the 9th International AIDS Society Conference on HIV Science in Paris, Dr. Sok will present this work at the "Kill Me or Neutralize Me" session on Monday, January 24, 2017, from 16:30 to 18:00 CEST. He will also be discussing the work at a press conference taking place on Tuesday, July 25, 2017, from 9:00 a.m. to 9:45 a.m. CEST. He will be joined by a panel of fellow HIV antibody experts in the Press Conference Room (352A) in the Media Centre at the Palais des Congrès to discuss the latest breakthroughs and prospective directions in HIV antibody research. Founded in 1996, the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) is a nonprofit organization working to accelerate development of broadly effective AIDS vaccines accessible to all. IAVI works with partners in 25 countries to research, design and develop promising vaccine candidates. We collaborate with governments, partner with pharmaceutical and bio-tech companies, universities, hospitals and civil society organizations, and conduct and support research in North America, Europe, Africa, and India. We strengthen the expertise and infrastructure to fight HIV/AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa, the epicenter of today's epidemic. And we advocate for policies, financing and environments that drive the fastest possible development of AIDS vaccines. Our vision is a world without AIDS, and that world has a vaccine. IAVI's work is made possible by generous support from many donors including: the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark; Irish Aid; the Ministry of Finance of Japan in partnership with The World Bank; the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands; the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD); the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID), and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The full list of IAVI donors is available at http://www. .


Amin M.N.,University of Maryland, Baltimore | Mclellan J.S.,National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases | Huang W.,University of Maryland, Baltimore | Orwenyo J.,University of Maryland, Baltimore | And 5 more authors.
Nature Chemical Biology | Year: 2013

A new class of glycan-reactive HIV-neutralizing antibodies, including PG9 and PG16, has been recently discovered that seem to recognize previously uncharacterized glycopeptide epitopes on HIV-1 gp120. However, further characterization and reconstitution of the precise neutralizing epitopes are complicated by the heterogeneity of glycosylation. We report here the design, synthesis and antigenic evaluation of new cyclic V1V2 glycopeptides carrying defined N-linked glycans at the conserved glycosylation sites (Asn160 and Asn156 or Asn173) derived from gp120 of two HIV-1 isolates. Antibody binding studies confirmed the necessity of a Man 5 GlcNAc 2 glycan at Asn160 for recognition by PG9 and PG16 and further revealed a critical role of a sialylated N-glycan at the secondary site (Asn156 or Asn173) in the context of glycopeptides for antibody binding. In addition to defining the glycan specificities of PG9 and PG16, the identified synthetic glycopeptides provide a valuable template for HIV-1 vaccine design. © 2013 Nature America, Inc. All rights reserved.


PubMed | Medical Research Council Uganda Virus Research Institute, University of Oxford, IAVI, Kenya AIDS Vaccine Institute Institute of Clinical Research and 10 more.
Type: Journal Article | Journal: PloS one | Year: 2015

HIV epidemiology informs prevention trial design and program planning. Nine clinical research centers (CRC) in sub-Saharan Africa conducted HIV observational epidemiology studies in populations at risk for HIV infection as part of an HIV prevention and vaccine trial network. Annual HIV incidence ranged from below 2% to above 10% and varied by CRC and risk group, with rates above 5% observed in Zambian men in an HIV-discordant relationship, Ugandan men from Lake Victoria fishing communities, men who have sex with men, and several cohorts of women. HIV incidence tended to fall after the first three months in the study and over calendar time. Among suspected transmission pairs, 28% of HIV infections were not from the reported partner. Volunteers with high incidence were successfully identified and enrolled into large scale cohort studies. Over a quarter of new cases in couples acquired infection from persons other than the suspected transmitting partner.


News Article | November 17, 2015
Site: www.biosciencetechnology.com

Scientists at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have new weapons in the fight against HIV. Their new study, published today as the cover article of the November issue of Immunity, describes four prototype antibodies that target a specific weak spot on the virus. Guided by these antibodies, the researchers then mimicked the molecular structure of a protein on HIV when designing their own potential HIV vaccine candidate. “This study is an example of how we can learn from natural infection and translate that information into vaccine development,” said TSRI Research Associate Raiees Andrabi. “This is an important advance in the field of antibody-based HIV vaccine development.” Andrabi served as first author of the study, working in the lab of senior author TSRI Professor Dennis R. Burton, who is also scientific director of the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) Neutralizing Antibody Center and of the National Institutes of Health’s Center for HIV/AIDS Vaccine Immunology and Immunogen Discovery (CHAVI-ID) at TSRI. The findings build on the success of several recent TSRI studies showing that, with prompting, the immune system can develop antibodies to neutralize many strains of HIV. In the new study, the researchers carried out a series of experiments involving virus modifications, protein and antibody engineering. They found that four antibodies targeted a single spot on HIV’s surface called the V2 apex. This was significant because the V2 apex could be recognized by these antibodies on about 90 percent of known HIV strains—and even related strains that infect other species. A vaccine targeting this region could protect against many forms of the virus. “This region helps stabilize the virus, so it’s an important area to target if you want to neutralize HIV,” said Andrabi. Investigating further, the researchers noticed that two of the four antibodies had an unusual feature that could prove important in vaccine design. The immune system usually begins its fight against infection by activating immune B cells that express “germline” forms of antibodies, on their surface, to bind invading pathogens. Germline antibodies rarely bind viruses very effectively themselves; instead, they are precursors for more developed antibodies, which mutate and hone their response to the invader. Yet in the new study, two of the antibodies did not need to mutate to bind with the V2 apex; instead, these antibodies used part of their basic germline structure, encoded by non-mutated genes. This means any patient with HIV should, in theory, have the ability to kick-start the right immune response. Unfortunately, the immune system seems to naturally produce only a small number of these HIV-neutralizing germline antibodies. To generate an immune response that would favor these antibodies, it was critical for the scientists to find the right proteins in HIV that the antibodies could recognize and bind to. In the new study, the researchers succeeded in mimicking a structure on HIV called the native HIV coat protein. This let them design proteins that do indeed bind well to the germline antibodies and hopefully start a useful immune response. The next step will be to test the vaccine candidates in animal models. HAVI-ID; Pascal Poignard of TSRI and IAVI; and Chung-Yi Wu and Chi-Huey Wong of the Genomics Research Center, Academia Sinica and TSRI. This study was supported by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Collaboration for AIDS Vaccine Discovery (CAVD), the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).


Industry veteran adds biotech innovation depth to Finn Partners' global reach and EU expertise in pharma and patient advocacy NEW YORK and PARIS, Nov. 10, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Finn Partners announced today the appointment of Mina Volovitch as Head of its Paris office and senior partner in the agency's Global Health Practice. Volovitch will be based in Paris and report to Chantal Bowman-Boyles, managing partner, leading Finn Partners Europe and Gil Bashe, managing partner, Global Health. Volovitch's more than 20 years' experience in health communications includes work with the globe's leading names in medicine and public health including bioMérieux, Bristol Myers-Squibb, Lilly, Novartis, Roche, Sanofi Pasteur, Transgene, the French Cancer Society, the National League Against Cancer (largest French patient group), the ANRS (National Agency for Research on Aids), the Mérieux Foundation and IAVI. "Our European offices are adding more and more health work encompassing biotechnology, patient advocacy and health technology assignments.  Mina's dual-role as head of our Paris office and senior member of the global health practice demonstrates how our agency values and growth attract exceptional talent," said Bowman-Boyles. "Mina is among the great health communicators with knowledge and experience engaging some of the most influential players in medical innovation, patient advocacy and public health across Europe," said Bashe. "Her collaborative approach is already strengthening the service and insight Finn Partners offers health clients around the globe.  Just as importantly, she lives the Finn Partners value of making a difference in the world through her professional and volunteer efforts." Volovitch began her career at Merck working in marketing, eventually becoming director of communications at MSD Paris. Following Merck, Volovitch joined the Mérieux Institute (the vaccine innovator that is today Sanofi Pasteur), where she served as director of communications. In 1987, she created Mynecom, a specialist healthcare communications agency. Her professional experience includes running national and global professional- and patient-communications programs; handling issues in pharmaceuticals and health products; and expertise across AIDS, biotech, cardiology, immunology, infectious disease, medical devices, oncology and vaccines. She is also a member of the National League Against Cancer communications working group. "I am energized and proud to join Finn Partners during this exciting time of growth for its global health practice and Paris office," said Volovitch.  "I share the agency's commitment to make a difference in the world, and the icing on the cake is building upon professional relationships with colleagues with whom I've worked in the past. Quite simply, I have deep trust and respect for Finn Partners management team in building one of the world's fastest growing PR and marketing communications agencies," she added. About Finn Partners, Inc. Finn Partners was launched in late 2011 to realize Peter Finn's vision to create a leading communications agency dedicated to shaping a bold new future in which innovation and partnership are strong brand drivers. Finn Partners specializes in the full spectrum of marketing and public relations services, including digital and social media. Practice areas include arts, consumer, CSR and social impact, education, financial services, health, technology and travel & lifestyle. Since its inception four years ago, Finn Partners has received six agency awards that are indicators of client and cultural leadership: "Best Midsize Agency" in 2015, "Best Agency to Work For" in 2013 and "Best New Agency" in 2012 from the Holmes Report and "Midsize PR Firm of the Year" in 2015 and "Top Places to Work in PR" in 2013 from PR News. Headquartered in New York City, the company has approximately 550 employees, with offices in Chicago, Detroit, Fort Lauderdale, Jerusalem, London, Los Angeles, Munich, Nashville, Paris, Portland, San Francisco and Washington D.C., and offers international capabilities through its own global network and PROI Worldwide. Find us at www.finnpartners.com and follow us on Twitter @finnpartners.


Home > Press > Kymouse success in steps to developing HIV vaccine: Kymab, the Scripps Research Institute and International AIDS Vaccine Initiative collaboration improves discovery and testing of promising HIV vaccine strategies Abstract: A new approach to developing a human vaccine against HIV has been developed by researchers at Kymab, a UK therapeutic antibody platform Company, The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) of San Diego, California, and the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI). HIV is one of the most intransigent targets for vaccine development, and no effective vaccine has been developed in thirty years of global research. The research, which tested the first step in an approach to develop effective vaccines against the range of HIV variants existing worldwide, is published in Science on Thursday 8 September, 2016, and was supported by funding from the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative and the US National Institutes of Health. The results show that Kymouse, which is a mouse that has been modified to mimic human antibody responses, is an effective platform for discovering and testing possible vaccines and suggest ways in which testing of vaccine candidates can be improved. "We increasingly recognize that traditional vaccine strategies will not be successful against all viruses, especially not HIV," says Dennis Burton, chair of the TSRI Department of Immunology and Microbial Science and scientific director of the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) Neutralizing Antibody Center (NAC) at TSRI and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Center for HIV/AIDS Vaccine Immunology and Immunogen Discovery (CHAVI-ID). "Together with the Kymab team, we have taken a novel approach in which have induced human antibodies in Kymouse that are at the beginning of the pathway to protective antibodies and which is a huge boost to our mission to develop an HIV vaccine." The work is based on the observation that a fraction of people who become infected by HIV develop broadly neutralizing antibodies against diverse HIV strains. Such antibodies would be ideal to protect against or possibly treat HIV infection - if a vaccine could be made to elicit them. However, these antibodies originate from a limited number of precursor antibody-producing cells in the body and acquire their unusual and protective properties only during a long course of infection. Moreover, although these cells have been activated when immunizing certain biased animal models, this is the first time it has been achieved through immunization of an immune system, as in the Kymouse, that resembles the human. The researchers injected Kymouse strains with a nanoparticle formed of 60 copies of a small protein that mimics HIV and was designed to bind and stimulate the specific precursor cells for one class of broadly neutralizing antibody. They expected to find just one such precursor cell (among tens of millions of such cells) in each immunized mouse. The research team then looked to see whether or not the mice had mounted an antibody response to this injection. Given the combined challenges of a complex immunogen structure and the rarity of the right antibodies, an effective response against the HIV immunogen was elicited remarkably efficiently. "Our phenomenal results with the teams at TSRI and IAVI came from work at the boundaries of protein engineering, immunology and vaccine technology," explains Professor Allan Bradley, Chief Technical Officer at Kymab and Director Emeritus of the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, who developed the Kymouse platform. "Using Kymouse, we show how an advanced vaccine candidate can search out the one cell among tens of million antibody-producing cells and make it proliferate. "Kymouse can deliver antibody responses that we need to build effective HIV vaccines." The team validated their antibody response by sequencing genes from more than 10,000 cell samples, and showed that genes from responding mice had the expected sequence for precursors to broadly neutralizing antibodies against the HIV target. "It is a big step forward in this branch of HIV vaccine development," says William Schief, TSRI Professor and Director of Vaccine Design for the IAVI Neutralizing Antibody Center at TSRI, in whose lab the vaccine nanoparticle was developed. "We have the first proof of principle that this HIV vaccine strategy and our vaccine candidate can work in a human immune system and trigger the first step in the pathway to developing broadly neutralizing and protective antibodies against the virus. "It is the very sort of response we'd want to see as we test components of a future vaccine." HIV has proved an extremely difficult challenge in vaccine development. The new research shows that Kymouse can produce antibodies of the type that could evolve to confer protection, suggests ways in which the immunization regime can be improved and indicates that Kymab's technologies will support and accelerate the search for other, rarer and perhaps even more effective antibodies. "About 35 million people have died of HIV/AIDS and 36 million are currently infected. Although a vaccine is the most likely way to stem this loss, no successful vaccine has been found in more than thirty years of HIV research," says Professor Paul Kellam, Vice President of Infectious Diseases and Vaccines at Kymab. "This is a pressing need and these results show that our Kymouse technologies can serve a vital part in the search for effective vaccines that help to protect against this most challenging disease." "This dramatic proof of concept gives us hope we can find better broadly effective vaccines for HIV and, indeed, for other infections, using the human immune system to help guide us along the best path." Participating Centers Kymab Ltd, Babraham Research Campus, Cambridge, UK Department of Immunology and Microbial Science, The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, CA, USA IAVI Neutralizing Antibody Center, The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, CA, USA Center for HIV/AIDS Vaccine Immunology and Immunogen Discovery, The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, CA, USA Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT, and Harvard, Cambridge, MA, USA About Don Powell Associates LTD About Kymab Kymab is a leading biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery and development of fully human monoclonal antibody drugs using its proprietary Kymouse™ antibody platform. Kymouse™ has been designed to maximize the diversity of human antibodies produced in response to immunization with antigens. Selecting from a broad diversity of fully human antibodies assures the highest probability of finding that rare drug candidate with best-in-class characteristics. The Kymouse™ naturally matures these molecules to highly potent drugs obviating the need for further time-consuming modifications. Kymab is using the platform for its internal drug discovery programs and in partnership with pharmaceutical companies. Kymab commenced operations in 2010 and has raised over US$120m of equity financing which includes $90m Series B financing. It has an experienced management team with a successful track record in drug discovery and development and has numerous therapeutic antibody programs in immune-oncology, auto-immunity; hematology, infectious disease and other areas. www.kymab.com About The Scripps Research Institute The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) is one of the world's largest independent, not-for-profit organizations focusing on research in the biomedical sciences. TSRI is internationally recognized for its contributions to science and health, including its role in laying the foundation for new treatments for cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, hemophilia, and other diseases. An institution that evolved from the Scripps Metabolic Clinic founded by philanthropist Ellen Browning Scripps in 1924, the institute now employs more than 2,500 people on its campuses in La Jolla, CA, and Jupiter, FL, where its renowned scientists--including two Nobel laureates and 20 members of the National Academy of Science, Engineering or Medicine--work toward their next discoveries. The institute's graduate program, which awards PhD degrees in biology and chemistry, ranks among the top ten of its kind in the nation. For more information, see www.scripps.edu. About International Aids Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) The International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) is a global not-for-profit organization whose mission is to ensure the development of safe, effective, accessible, preventive HIV vaccines for use throughout the world. Founded in 1996 and operational in 25 countries, IAVI and its network of collaborators research and develop vaccine candidates. IAVI was founded with the generous support of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, The Rockefeller Foundation, The Starr Foundation, and Until There's A Cure Foundation. Other major supporters include the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health, The John D. Evans Foundation, The New York Community Trust, the James B. Pendleton Charitable Trust; the Governments of Canada, Denmark, India, Ireland, Japan, The Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States, the Basque Autonomous Government (Spain), the European Union as well as the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and The City of New York, Economic Development Corporation; multilateral organizations such as The World Bank and The OPEC Fund for International Development; corporate donors including BD (Becton, Dickinson & Co.), Bristol-Myers Squibb, Continental Airlines, Google Inc., Pfizer Inc, and Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc.; leading AIDS charities such as Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS; and many generous individuals from around the world. For more information, see www.iavi.org. Contacts: For Kymab Don Powell Don Powell Associates Ltd +44 (0)778 6858220 +44 (0)1223 515436 Mary Clark, Supriya Mathur and Hollie Vile Hume Brophy +44 (0)207 862 6390 For TSRI Madeline McCurry-Schmidt Science Writer The Scripps Research Institute Tel: 858-784-9254 Office of Communications The Scripps Research Institute Tel: +1 858-784-2666 Fax: +1 858-784-8118 For IAVI Arne Näveke Executive Director Advocacy, Policy, Communications International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) +1.212.847.1055 (office) +1.646.623.47.85 (mobile) If you have a comment, please us. Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Loading IAVI collaborators
Loading IAVI collaborators