Treos Bio Forms New Subsidiary to Develop a Preventive COVID-19 Peptide Vaccine

LONDON, UK I June 15, 2020 I Treos Bio Limited, a clinical stage biopharma company developing targeted peptide cancer immunotherapies, today said that it has developed and successfully tested in silico a preventive COVID-19 peptide vaccine and has transferred all rights, including pending patent applications, to a newly formed subsidiary, PepTC Vaccines Limited.

Treos developed this preventive vaccine product, PolyPEPI-SCoV-2, using its proprietary, computational vaccine design technology.

PepTC Vaccines’ PolyPEPI-SCoV-2 investigative vaccine is designed to elicit long-term T cell immunity in contrast to most of the vaccine candidates being developed with antibodies. It consists of 10 different, 30-amino acid long synthetic peptides.

In silico preclinical testing of the PolyPEPI-SCoV-2 vaccine in diverse ethnic groups of approximately 16,000 HLA genotyped subjects from a U.S. bone marrow donor database, resulted in an equally high proportion of subjects showing both CD8+ and CD4+ T cell responses in each ethnic group.

  • 98 percent of patients were predicted to have immune responses against at least two peptides of the vaccine (out of the 10 selected peptides)
  • 96 percent were predicted to have immune responses against at least three peptides
  • 90 percent were predicted to have immune responses against at least four peptides
  • 80 percent were predicted to have immune responses against at least five vaccine peptides

PepTC Vaccines has initial funding committed from Treos and a group of individual investors, including some of Treos’ existing shareholders, enabling PepTC Vaccines to manufacture the vaccine product needed for clinical trials. GMP production started early May in the United States. PepTC Vaccines expects to take delivery of 4,000 vials by September 2020.  

Based on the safety and unprecedented immune system activation previously demonstrated by Treos’ off-the-shelf cancer immunotherapy PolyPEPI1018 in a clinical trial conducted at the Mayo Clinic (USA) and at the University Hospital of Pisa (Italy), PepTC Vaccines expects to advance to human clinical studies for its investigational PolyPEPI-SCoV-2 vaccine by October 2020. It expects to have preliminary trial results in March 2021.

“Our efforts are focused on the development of an effective, safe, and potentially best-in-class vaccine against SARS-CoV-2. We are addressing the challenges of the heterogeneity of individuals’ immune response, the potential for structural variations in the infecting virus, and the observed phenomenon of long-term immunity to coronaviruses likely stemming from T cell activity,” said Dr. Christopher C. Gallen, Executive Chairman of Treos. “Based on our clinical experience with our PolyPEPI peptide immunotherapy in metastatic colorectal cancer patients and our validated in silico human model, we believe that our approach has the potential to provide a broad and long-lasting immune response, independent of gender, age, or ethnicity, and be able to protect people worldwide against COVID-19.”

Dr. Gallen noted that PepTC Vaccines’ approach provides cost-effective and immediately scalable manufacturing since it relies on well-established, accessible manufacturing technology and widely available chemicals to produce the synthetic peptides used in Treos’ immunotherapies.

To design its experimental SARS-CoV-2 vaccine, Treos took into consideration both the data obtained from patients who recovered from the previous coronavirus (SARS-CoV) epidemy in 2003 and other information specific to variants of the current coronavirus. Treos selected peptide fragments of the conserved regions of the presently known multiple viral structural protein sequences as well as multiple shared personal epitopes (PEPIs) of subjects with different ethnicities for its model population. Epitope selection was directed toward both HLA class I and HLA class II specific PEPIs to induce robust T cell responses that will establish memory T cell pools.  

“We anticipate that as the coronavirus continues to evolve and as more data are collected, additional mutations will be observed. Such mutations will not affect the global coverage of our vaccine, provided that they occur outside of the identified epitope regions,” said Enikő R. Tőke, Ph.D., Chief Scientific Officer for Treos. “If mutations do occur within any of the epitope regions selected, then the intact immunogenic epitopes could still provide protection against the virus since a majority of the subjects will still have a broad repertoire of virus-specific memory T cell clones.”

About Treos Bio Limited
Treos Bio, headquartered in London, uses data science and proprietary biomarkers to develop its precision peptide cancer immunotherapies, with substantially shortened development timelines and at low costs. Treos’ off-the-shelf cancer immunotherapies are designed to exclude autoimmunity and to induce tumor-specific immune responses to be safer and more effective in patients who do not benefit from current immunotherapies. Treos’ novel biomarkers will support the development of in vitro companion diagnostic tests to identify patients who are most likely to respond to treatment. The company is in clinical development of its PolyPEPI immunotherapy for metastatic colorectal cancer and completed preclinical development of additional members of the PolyPEPI cancer immunotherapy family with companion diagnostics to select likely responders. These off-the-shelf therapies are designed for a general population of patients with ovarian-, breast-, bladder-, gastric-, lung cancers and melanoma. Treos’ patient-focused immunotherapy design also supports the development of immunotherapies for single individuals as well as for a defined population of individuals with a specific genetic background. More information can be found at www.treosbio.com.

About PepTC Vaccines Limited
PepTC Vaccines, a recently formed subsidiary of Treos, is focused on developing a broad and long-lasting global vaccine for COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2). Patent applications have been filed on the PolyPEPI-SCoV-2 vaccine composition in early April 2020. PepTC Vaccines is finalizing an initial funding round. It anticipates commencing human clinical trials of its investigational SARS-CoV-2 vaccine by October 2020. More information can be found at www.peptc.com.

SOURCE: Treos Bio

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