Gilead Sciences and GlobeImmune have entered into an exclusive worldwide license and collaboration agreement for the development and commercialization of therapeutic vaccine products for use in conjunction with Viread (tenofovir disoproxil fumarate) and other oral therapies for the treatment of chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection.
Under the terms of the agreement, Gilead will pay GlobeImmune an upfront payment and provide support for GlobeImmune’s continued development of its HBV therapeutic vaccine program through phase Ia clinical trials. Gilead can assume full responsibility for clinical development following phase Ia. GlobeImmune also could receive additional payments based upon achievement of certain development milestones, as well as royalties on future potential net sales.
The goal of the research collaboration is to create and develop therapeutic vaccine products that have specific HBV DNA antigens cloned into S. cerevisiae (a species of yeast). The companies anticipate that the combination of a therapeutic vaccine with oral suppressive antiviral therapy could help increase surface antigen (HBsAg) loss with seroconversion – a marker of the resolution of chronic HBV infection.
“Finite therapy remains a significant unmet need for patients with chronic hepatitis B,” said Norbert W. Bischofberger, PhD, Gilead’s executive vice president, research and development and chief scientific officer. “We are hopeful that this approach will allow us to explore whether adaptive immunomodulatory approaches to HBV will help us improve HBsAg seroconversion, thereby eliminating the need for life-long daily therapy.”