According to the Centers for Disease Control, genital herpes affects more than 60 million Americans—or 1 in 6 people between ages 14 and 49—with an additional 1.5 million new cases each year. 1 This disease normally results in 6 outbreaks per year, but in severe cases more episodes may result. 2 The psychosocial consequences of genital herpes are quite significant, as 57 percent of those infected indicated that herpes had interfered with their sexual relationships, 50 percent felt it was difficult to live with genital herpes, and 37 percent felt that herpes had ruined their lives. 3 Additionally, ongoing research indicates an increasing resistance to currently available genital herpes treatments.
AG-707 is an off-the-shelf therapeutic vaccine for the treatment of genital herpes, which is caused by the herpes simplex virus-2 (HSV-2). The vaccine is based on Antigenics' heat shock protein (HSP) platform technology. Heat shock proteins (HSPs), also called stress proteins, are found in all cells (normal cells, cancer cells and infected cells) and recent research has demonstrated that HSPs play an essential role in the presentation of pieces of proteins (or peptides) on the cell surface to help the immune system recognize diseased cells. While the initial focus of development has been in HSV-2, the HSP technology platform can potentially be utilized for off-the-shelf treatment of many types of infectious diseases such as HPV, HIV, hepatitis, malaria and tuberculosis.AG-707 consists of recombinant human heat shock protein-70 complexed with 32 distinct 35-mer synthetic peptides from the HSV-2 proteome. This broad spectrum of herpes antigens is intended to allow for more accurate immune targeting and surveillance, reducing the likelihood of immune escape. Further, the diversity of antigens in AG-707 increases the chance of providing efficacy for a wide segment of the patient population.