March 23, 2005
Pleasanton, CA - March 23, 2005. Juvaris BioTherapeutics Inc., a private biotechnology company, today announced a research collaboration with the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) to use Juvaris' immunostimulant technology in the screening of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) vaccine candidates.
The research collaboration will consist of testing the JuvImmuneTM / JuvaVaxTM Immunostimulant combined with HIV antigens. Studies will be conducted in an HIV immunization model through IAVI's affiliated network of scientific investigators and laboratories. IAVI's mission is to ensure the development of a safe, effective and accessible vaccine to prevent HIV infection and AIDS.
The need for a vaccine to prevent HIV infection and AIDS worldwide is urgent. Statistics from the World Health Organization-UNAIDS joint program on the epidemic estimated in December 2004 that worldwide, more than 60 million adults and children have been infected with HIV; 28 million have died of AIDS, and 39.4 million (~1 million, US) are currently living with the infection. Approximately 4.9 million new HIV infections and 3.1 million AIDS-related deaths occurred in 2004. Life expectancy has been severely impacted by AIDS in sub-Saharan African countries, and is now beginning to impact India, China, Russia, and Eastern Europe.
In commenting on the IAVI collaboration, Juvaris' Co-founder, Chairman and CEO Martin D. Cleary stated "Juvaris is excited to collaborate with IAVI in the screening of HIV vaccine candidates using the Company's Immunostimulant/Vaccine technology platform. We believe the various attributes of the Juvaris vaccine platform strongly support IAVI's vaccine efforts. Our preclinical testing has demonstrated potent cellular and antibody-mediated immune stimulation as well as the efficacy of oral administration. Juvaris appreciates the opportunity to demonstrate the power of its immunostimulation technology through the IAVI collaboration."
Juvaris BioTherapeutics was created in 2002 to develop an immunotherapeutic product platform for the treatment of infectious diseases and cancer using lipid-DNA complexes. Cationic lipids are formulated with non-coding DNA (plasmid) to create JuvImmuneTM, a single lipid-DNA complex, which as an immunostimulation product will have utility in a number of non-antigen immunotherapeutic applications. The DNA in these complexes does not code for protein, but rather, through a combined synergistic effect with lipids, strongly stimulates immune responses. The JuvImmuneTM product has been shown to be at least 50-times more potent at triggering innate immune activation and interferon release than current immune stimulants. Juvaris was recently issued Patent No. 6,693,086 titled "Systemic Immune Activation Method Using Nucleic Acid-Lipid Complexes" providing broad intellectual property coverage for the JuvImmuneTM technology.
When combined with disease-specific antigens, the technology creates JuvaVaxTM vaccines capable of activating substantial antibody- and cell-mediated immune responses, particularly induction of cytotoxic T lymphocytes. Immunological responses elicited by the lipid-DNA complexes have been successfully demonstrated in both prophylactic and therapeutic settings in a variety of mammals including rodents, rabbits, cats, dogs and non-human primates. Moreover, substantial immune responses have been induced following oral administration. This system provides the opportunity to develop many disease-specific vaccine products, for which there are significant unmet medical needs.
The Company encourage investment and partnering inquiries and can be reached at their website at www.juvaris.com.
IAVI (www.iavi.org) is a global not-for-profit organization working to accelerate the development of a vaccine to prevent HIV infection and AIDS. Founded in 1996 and operational in 23 countries, IAVI and its network of collaborators research and develop vaccine candidates. IAVI also advocates for a vaccine to be a global priority and works to assure that a future vaccine will be accessible to all who need it. IAVI's financial and in-kind supporters include the Bill & Melinda Gates, Rockefeller, Alfred P. Sloan and Starr foundations; the governments of Canada, Denmark, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States; multilateral organizations including the European Union and the World Bank; corporations such as BD (Becton, Dickinson & Co.), Continental Airlines and DHL; leading AIDS charities such as Crusaid, Deutsche AIDS Stiftung, and the Until There's A Cure Foundation; and other private donors such as the Phoebe W. Haas Charitable Trust B.