GeoVax and Leidos Enter into a Collaboration Agreement on Immunotherapy Research Program
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- Published on Tuesday, 20 November 2018 10:00
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ATLANTA, GA, USA I November 19, 2018 I GeoVax Labs, Inc. (OTCQB: GOVX), a biotechnology company developing human vaccines, announced today that it is collaborating with Leidos, Inc. on a research program evaluating the combination of the companies’ respective technologies. The project will include the design, construction, and characterization of multiple immunotherapeutic vaccine candidates using GeoVax’s MVA-VLP vaccine platform combined with certain novel peptide PD-1 checkpoint inhibitors developed by Leidos. The vaccine design, construction, and characterization will be performed at GeoVax with further analysis conducted by Leidos.
GeoVax’s vaccine technology is based on its live Modified Vaccinia Ankara (MVA) platform, which generates vaccine antigens, in the form of multimeric proteins or noninfectious VLPs, in the individual being vaccinated. Gene sequences of target antigens are inserted into the MVA genome which drives their expression and budding from the infected cells. In this way, vaccination strategy mimics a natural viral infection which induces two pools of proteins – virus-infected cells and released multimeric or VLP proteins.
Farshad Guirakhoo, PhD, GeoVax’s Chief Scientific Officer, commented, “We are very pleased to be collaborating with Leidos on this project, which may lead to expanded efforts in cancer immunotherapy, treatments for chronic Hepatitis B infections, or other diseases where an immunological-based therapeutic approach would be beneficial. The Leidos life sciences team is recognized as having solid expertise in biopharmaceutical concept prototyping, regulatory strategy, and product development, and we look forward to working closely with them.”
Dr. Guirakhoo continued, “Currently, there are major limitations on cancer immunotherapies which include high costs (limiting patient access, straining both the healthcare system and the patient’s own finances), the need for multiple injections, and significant side effects. Moreover, monotherapy with one checkpoint inhibitor drug can induce drug resistance in some patients making it necessary to combine with other drugs and treatments, which in turn may further increase toxicity. We have shown that our MVA platform is safe in humans without any major side effects and hope that delivery of the immune checkpoint inhibitors with or without the tumor-associated antigens may overcome some of the challenges associated with the use of immune checkpoint inhibitors in cancers or other chronic infectious diseases.”
GeoVax Labs, Inc., is a clinical-stage biotechnology company developing human vaccines against infectious diseases using its MVA-VLP vaccine platform. GeoVax was the winner of the 2018 “Best Biotech” Vaccine Industry Excellence Awards, a finalist for the 2018 “Best Prophylactic Vaccine” Award for its Zika vaccine at the World Vaccine Congress, as well as a finalist for Pipelines of Promise at Buzz of Bio 2018. The Company’s development programs are focused on vaccines against HIV, Zika, hemorrhagic fever viruses (Ebola, Sudan, Marburg, Lassa) and malaria. GeoVax also is evaluating the use of its MVA-VLP platform in cancer immunotherapy, and for therapeutic use in chronic Hepatitis B infections. GeoVax’s vaccine platform supports in vivo production of non-infectious VLPs from the cells of the very person receiving the vaccine. The production of VLPs in the person being vaccinated mimics virus production in a natural infection, stimulating both the humoral and cellular arms of the immune system to recognize, prevent, and control the target infection. For more information, visit www.geovax.com.
Leidos is a Fortune 500® information technology, engineering, and science solutions and services leader working to solve the world’s toughest challenges in the defense, intelligence, homeland security, civil, and health markets. The company’s 32,000 employees support vital missions for government and commercial customers. Headquartered in Reston, Virginia, Leidos reported annual revenues of approximately $10.17 billion for the fiscal year ended December 29, 2017. For more information, visit www.Leidos.com.