SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 25, 2016

AIMM Therapeutics' antibodies used for RSV vaccine immunogen

AIMM Therapeutics B.V., an antibody development company, announced on Monday that researchers used the company's respiratory syncytial virus-neutralizing antibodies to engineer an improved vaccine against RSV.

A team of researchers from the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases' Vaccine Research Center found that AIMM's highly potent RSV antibodies allowed them to engineer a vaccine immunogen able to elicit a response 40 times higher than needed to neutralize infection with RSV. The researchers recently published their findings in Science.

"Respiratory syncytial virus remains a large unmet medical need," Hergen Spits, the chief scientific officer of AIMM said. "Over 160,000 children per year die worldwide from RSV infections and the subsequent clinical complications. Although most adults have acquired immunity very young, children, immune compromised adults and the elderly all have a significant risk of complications arising from RSV infections."

RSV's surface F protein facilitates fusion with human cells during the infection process. AIMM's antibodies are able to recognize a prefusion complex of the RSV-F protein to stop the critical unfolding of the protein and halt viral entry into cells, according to a study published in Science earlier this year.

"AIMM's technology platforms allow rapid identification of unique and strongly neutralizing antibodies in blood samples donated by healthy adults as was the case here," Spits said. "These antibodies are not only useful in vaccine development, as this current paper shows, but are being developed as therapeutics which will have utility in cases where vaccines are not effective."

AIMM has a broad product pipeline targeted at bacteria and pathogenic viruses. The company is looking to expand its pipeline with drug candidates for inflammatory diseases and cancer.