iBio, Inc. (NYSE AMEX: IBIO)
today announced that its proprietary iBioLaunch™ Platform successfully expressed the hookworm-derived molecule known as NaAPR1M-74, which will be evaluated as a potential vaccine candidate for human hookworm disease.
The expression of this antigen represents a major breakthrough in the development of a human hookworm vaccine. Such a vaccine will provide significant public health benefit by preventing a parasitic disease that currently affects more than 576 million people worldwide and is a leading cause of anemia in the world’s poorest countries. This accomplishment highlights the ability of iBioLaunch technology to overcome inherent limitations of other expression systems.
The success resulted from collaboration between iBio’s research partner, the Fraunhofer Center for Molecular Biotechnology (FCMB), and the Sabin Vaccine Institute. Production of initial quantities of partially purified NaAPR1M-74 was completed last week at FCMB’s pilot manufacturing facility employing the iBioLaunch Technology. This product was later transferred to Walter Reed Army Institute for Research (WRAIR) for final purification to formulate enough material to initiate Phase 1 clinical trials.
“We are very pleased with the success in expressing a pilot batch of this antigen in collaboration with iBio and FCMB,” said Dr. Peter Hotez, President of Sabin Vaccine Institute. “It has been extremely difficult to produce this protein effectively, as evidenced by multiple prior unsuccessful attempts using traditional production systems.”
“The expression of this complex protein with the iBioLaunch™ Platform not only moves us closer to a solution for hundreds of millions of people who suffer from hookworm, but also bodes well for other complex protein expression challenges,” said Dr. Philip Russell, a member of the Board of Trustees of Sabin Vaccine Institute and member of the Board of Directors of iBio.
Clinical trials will be conducted by the Sabin Vaccine Institute’s Human Hookworm Vaccine Initiative (HHVI). Established in 2000 with funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and with additional support from the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Brazilian Ministry of Health, the HHVI is the first and only program that aims to reduce the prevalence of human hookworm infection through research and development, timely dissemination of results, innovation, and advocacy.