GHP September 2016

ghp September 2016 | 57 “Kymouse can deliver antibody responses that we need to build effective HIV vaccines.” The team val- idated their antibody response by sequencing genes from more than 10,000 cell samples, and showed that genes from responding mice had the expected sequence for precursors to broadly neutralising anti- bodies against the HIV target. “It is a big step forward in this branch of HIV vaccine development,” says William Schief, TSRI professor and director of vaccine design for the IAVI Neutralizing Antibody Center at TSRI, in whose lab the vaccine nanoparticle was developed. “We have the first proof of principle that this HIV vaccine strategy and our vac- cine candidate can work in a human immune system and trigger the first step in the pathway to developing broadly neutralising and protective antibodies against the virus. “It is the very sort of response we’d want to see as we test components of a future vaccine.” HIV has proved an extremely difficult challenge in vaccine development. The new research shows that Kymouse can produce antibodies of the type that could evolve to confer protection, suggests ways in which the immunisation regime can be improved and indicates that Kymab’s technologies will support and accelerate the search for other, rarer and perhaps even more effective antibodies. “About 35 million people have died of HIV/AIDS and 36 million are currently infected. Although a vaccine is the most likely way to stem this loss, no successful vaccine has been found in more than thirty years of HIV research,” says Professor Paul Kellam, vice pres- ident of infectious diseases and vaccines at Kymab. “This is a pressing need and these results show that our Kymouse technologies can serve a vital part in the search for effective vaccines that help to protect against this most challenging disease.” “This dramatic proof of concept gives us hope we can find better broadly effective vaccines for HIV and, indeed, for other infections, using the human immune system to help guide us along the best path.” Kymab has raised more than $120m in equity funding from partners including Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Wellcome Trust, Malin Corporation plc and the Woodford Patient Capital Trust plc to fund its unique antibody development platform in therapeutic development and vaccine discovery. Kymab is build- ing a rich pipeline of assets in four main therapeutic spaces: infectious disease, such as HIV and malaria, as well as immuno-oncology, inflammation and hae- matology. For more details, please visit: