The partnership intends to combine the companies’ complementary technologies to create a therapeutic that covers the antigenic variability within HIV strains and is delivered into draining lymph nodes with as little as one dose.
By doing this the companies believe they can further HIV treatments, with Marc Mansour, vice president of R&D at ImmunoVaccine Technologies (IVT), saying: "DepoVax will act as a vector to deliver FIT Biotech's GTU MultiHIV DNA vaccine and our goal is to develop a more sophisticated and efficient HIV vaccine candidate."
DepoVax works by encapsulating the target antigen, in this case GTU MultiHIV, and an adjuvant in a liposome. This is delivered using a hydrophobic carrier that significantly enhances vaccine induced cell-mediated and humoral immunity, according to IVT.
IVT says it has demonstrated the delivery platforms effectiveness in preclinical studies. It is currently furthering DepoVax’s development through collaborations with organisations including the National Research Council Institute for Biodiagnostics Atlantic and Defence Research and Development Canada.
Coping with HIV mutations
Creation of a HIV vaccine is hindered by the virus’ capability to mutate but FIT believes that by designing a synthetic DNA plasmid it is able overcome this challenge.
GTU MultiHIV consists of multi-epitope/multivalent HIV antigens that give it the ability to trigger an immune response and slow the progression of the virus, according to FIT.
In addition, FIT is using the gene transport unit (GTU) it created for its HIV vaccine to develop treatments for melanoma, diabetes and hepatitis C.