Our scientific platform includes two distinct approaches to arenavirus-based therapies: replicating and non-replicating. Our replicating technology is designed to create a stronger immune response that we believe is more appropriate for use in oncology. Our non-replicating technology is designed to evoke a potent immune response for prophylactic use against infectious disease.
Our proprietary replicating technology was designed to provide the beneficial properties of our non-replicating technology but to induce an even more robust immune response. Unlike naturally occurring arenaviruses which have two genomic segments, our replicating constructs were engineered to have three segments in order to allow for the introduction of genomic space in which to insert additional target antigens of choice. As a result of the larger genome the virus’ ability to replicate is reduced (attenuated).
Advantages of replicating technology
Based on preclinical data, our replicating technology offers the same advantages as our non-replicating technology, with the following additional benefits:
Quantitatively - Even More Robust CD8+ T Cell Response
Our replicating technology is designed to induce a T cell response that directs more than 50% of a body’s T cells to focus on a single target of choice. This response is approximately ten times greater than the response induced by our non-replicating technology. We believe our technology results in an immunotherapeutic approach with potential for greater potency than existing therapeutic treatments.
Qualitatively - Immunological Memory and Protection Against Challenge
Our replicating technology has shown the ability to trigger a long term T cell response. Furthermore, in various animal models replicating therapy resulted in protection against a cancer re-challenge months after primary treatment.
Our proprietary non-replicating technology platform disables arenavirus replication by substituting one of its four structural genes with the gene for the target antigen. The modified, replication-defective arenavirus is able to directly infect individual antigen presenting cells, such as dendritic cells and deliver proteins that serve as antigens to activate the immune system, but is not able to replicate and infect additional cells in the body.
Advantages of our non-replicating technology
Based on the preclinical and clinical data, our non-replicating technology has demonstrated that it is well tolerated and has the following additional benefits:
Robust CD8+ T Cell Response as Well as Pathogen Neutralization Response
Our non-replicating technology is designed to induce a robust T cell and pathogen neutralizing response to fight disease. We believe our technology results in an immunotherapeutic approach with potential for greater potency than existing prophylactic treatments.
Immunological Memory and Protection Against Challenge
Our non-replicating technology has shown the ability to trigger a long term T cell response of at least 12 months. Furthermore, in various animal models a non-replicating immunization resulted in protection against infectious challenge.
Lack of Vector-specific Neutralizing Antibodies
Our non-replicating technology does not generate clinically meaningful vector-specific neutralizing antibodies, allowing for repeat administration which can further boost the immune response.