Diaxonhit Receives Financing from Bpifrance for the Development of a Companion Diagnostic for a Therapeutic Vaccine Against AIDS

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  • Financing of € 1 728 000 through both grants and reimbursable advances

  • Development of a companion diagnostic for measuring response to the therapeutic vaccine

  • Development of an early marker of disease progression

April 28, 2014

Diaxonhit announced today that it was granted € 1,728,000 by Bpifrance, as part of its involvement in a research consortium led by InnaVirVax and funded under the program for “Strategic Industrial Innovation”.

Headed by project leader InnaVirVax, the consortium includes Diaxonhit, and two Inserm (French National Institute for Medical Research) units : Southern Paris University (CESP – U1018 – Kremlin Bicêtre Hospital) and Bordeaux University (ISPED – UMR 897 – Université Bordeaux Segalen). The PROTHEVIH project aims at developing an innovative therapeutic vaccine (VAC-3S) to treat AIDS patients, and develop diagnostic tests enabling personalized care of patients. This project will last 56 months. The total amount awarded to the consortium amounts to more than €9 million, which will be paid in several installments during the project’s life.

Diaxonhit was selected for its competency to develop diagnostic tests in infectious diseases. The Company will be responsible for the development of :

  1. a companion test (CO-3S) which measures the level of anti-3S antibodies in patients treated with VAC-3S. In vaccinated patients, this test will enable doctors to measure the immune response to the vaccine therapy, and adjust it accordingly;
  2. a diagnostic test (DIAG-3S) for the detection of anti-3S antibodies naturally secreted by patients infected by the HIV-1 virus. In collaboration with Inserm units, the objective is to validate the use of the level of natural anti-3S antibodies measured by this second test as an early marker of disease progression, thus enabling optimized care of HIV-1 infected patients.

PROTHEVIH is a new opportunity for the Company to utilize its know-how in the development of companion diagnostics with its expertise in proteomics and infectious diseases. Even if our Group went through a significant transformation with the addition of a strong commercial activity, it remains an innovative Group with two proprietary tests under development and participation to several personalized medicine consortiums. We are quite happy to work with InnaVirVax and two prestigious academic centers on this ambitious project, especially since AIDS remains a major public health issue on a worldwide basis.” stated Loïc Maurel, MD, President of Diaxonhit’s Management Board.

In France, in 2012, approximately 6,400 individuals discovered that they were HIV infected. During that same year, approximately 1,500 patients were diagnosed with AIDS. Since the beginning of the AIDS epidemic, the total number of people who developed AIDS is estimated at 88,000, among which approximately 40,000 were still alive at the end of 2012.
(Source : BEH N°9-10 April 1, 2014, Institut de Veille Sanitaire)

Worldwide, more than 35.3 million people currently live with HIV, including 2.1 million adolescents (10 to 19), primarily in countries with low or medium income. It is estimated that 2.3 million people were newly infected by the virus in 2012, and that HIV/AIDS has been responsible for 36 million deaths since its inception, including 1.6 million in 2012.
(Source : OMS – http://www.who.int/features/factfiles/hiv/facts/fr/index3.html)

About the VAC-3S vaccine

InnaVirVax’s objective is to develop a therapeutic vaccine against HIV-1. This vaccine is designed to protect the immune system of patients by blocking the mechanism of action responsible for the fall in the number of T lymphocytes during infection. VAC-3S should induce a specific immune response in the patient who should then produce antibodies against the 3S peptide, whose toxicity to CD4+ T cells has been demonstrated. InnaVirVax recently started a Phase II clinical study of this AIDS vaccine candidate. This study will take place over two years and include 90 patients in seven centers in France and two in Europe.

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