Integral Molecular and Integrated BioTherapeutics have teamed up in the fight against the global health crises posed by Ebola and Zika viruses, signing a collaborative vaccine discovery agreement to help eradicate these threats.
The two companies will leverage their complementary technologies to produce vaccine candidates that are specifically engineered to generate a maximally protective immune response in humans. The availability of such vaccines will prevent the recurrence of the deadly 2014-2016 Ebola epidemic that killed over 11,000 people in West Africa, and has the potential to curtail the spread of the ongoing Zika virus epidemic associated with severe fetal brain defects.
Integral Molecular is an industry leader in the study of complex membrane proteins such as viral Envelope proteins. The company will use its proprietary Shotgun Mutagenesis protein engineering technology to generate and screen large panels of Envelope protein variants to identify an optimized protein that could serve as a highly immunogenic and protective vaccine, and will ultimately apply its high-resolution epitope mapping technologies to characterize the vaccine’s protective effects. Integrated BioTherapeutics, a leader in infectious disease research, will conduct preclinical studies to test the efficacy of vaccine candidates in disease models.
“The vulnerability of human populations during the recent Ebola and Zika outbreaks highlighted the consequences of the lack of effective vaccines against these pathogens. The goal of our collaboration is to meet these concerns by creating efficacious vaccine candidates based on viral Envelope proteins,” said M. Javad Aman, president and CEO of Integrated BioTherapeutics.
“We look forward to working with Integrated BioTherapeutics. Their experience in the development of a pipeline of antiviral products based on rationally designed and engineered viral proteins and antibodies will be a tremendous asset in our joint efforts towards producing Ebola and Zika vaccines,” continued Benjamin Doranz, president and CEO of Integral Molecular.
Thus far, the two companies have engaged in highly successful collaborative research that has culminated in the pursuit of these vaccine candidates. This includes the development and characterization of the protective and cross-neutralizing pan-Ebola antibody FVM04, recently published in Cell Reports (Howell et al., 2016). Additional research resulting from this collaboration is expected to be published later this year.