Vienna, Austria, October 17, 2016 / B3C newswire / -- Hookipa Biotech AG, a biotech company pioneering a new class of immunotherapeutics and vaccines based on its proprietary arenavirus vector platforms, today announces the award of a fifth major grant from the Austrian Research Promotion Agency (Forschungs-Förderungs-Gesellschaft, FFG), the leading public funding agency for translational research in Austria.
A EUR 4.16 million grant has been awarded for the second year of a multi-year research and development project. The grant will be used to further substantiate the broad applicability of Hookipa’s arenaviral vector technologies for the development of innovative cancer immunotherapies and to progress the development of Hookipa’s lead oncology product HB201 for the treatment of HPV (human papilloma virus)-associated head and neck cancer.
HB201 is based on Hookipa’s highly potent arenavirus vector platform, stimulating both potent B-cell and CD8+ T-cell immune responses. HB201 is designed to raise immune responses against the E6 and E7 oncogenes of HPV, a known risk factor for head & neck squamous cell cancers1. By inducing strong and sustained cytotoxic T cells, HB201 aims at the eradication of HPV infected or transformed cells from the body. Unlike products based on other viral vectors, HB201 can be applied repeatedly in order to boost the immune system.
Joern Aldag, CEO of Hookipa commented, “After having successfully started a clinical phase 1 study for our Cytomegalovirus (CMV) vaccine candidate earlier this year, we are now actively working towards expanding the use of our technologies into the field of immuno-oncology. FFG´s steady support of this project will help us to accelerate development of urgently needed cancer therapies”.
About Hookipa Biotech
Hookipa Biotech is an immunotherapy company developing next-generation cancer immune therapeutics and vaccines based on the company´s proprietary arenavirus vector platforms, Vaxwave® and TheraT®. To date, Hookipa has raised EUR 11.5 million in non-dilutive funds and EUR 27 million equity investment from internationally renowned venture capital investors including Sofinnova Partners, Forbion Capital Partners, Boehringer Ingelheim Venture Fund, Takeda Ventures and BioMedPartners.
Hookipa’s broadly enabling Vaxwave® technology platform is based on replication-defective lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus vectors that allow induction of strong humoral and cellular immune responses to viral, bacterial and tumor antigens. Strong therapeutic efficacy data have been generated in various pre-clinical models. One of the most distinguishing features of this vector platform is its homologous prime-boosting capacity, allowing Vaxwave® based immunotherapy to be applied repeatedly to boost the immune system and generate potent CD8+ T cell responses against targeted antigens. Vaxwave® is patent-protected by issued patents and patent applications worldwide. Hookipa has a phase 1 clinical trial in CMV ongoing using its Vaxwave® platform.
Hookipa´s TheraT® technology is a novel, stably attenuated and replication-competent viral vector platform capable of inducing tumor antigen-specific effector CD8+ T cells of magnitude and functionality exceeding that of other viral vector platforms. TheraT® has successfully been validated as an immunotherapy in various preclinical tumor models, using different categories of tumor associated antigens ranging from viral genes, differentiation antigens to cancer germline genes. The unique immunostimulatory properties and expected favorable safety profile in humans make TheraT® a very promising cancer immunotherapy platform.
1. National Cancer Intelligence Network (NCIN) Data Briefing: Potentially HPV-related head and neck cancers http://www.ncin.org.uk/publications/data_briefings/potentially_hpv_related_head_and_neck_cancers
Issued for and on behalf Hookipa Biotech AG by Instinctif Partners.
Sue Charles/ Daniel Gooch/ Alex Bannister