April 7th, 2017
Providence-based biotechnology company EpiVax, Inc. (“EpiVax”) has licensed its novel immune-modulating technology to an unnamed global pharmaceutical company, for use in autoimmune disease and allergy.
Tregitopes, pronounced T·rej·itopes, are a set of peptides first discovered in human immunoglobulin by EpiVax CEO Annie De Groot and EpiVax CIO Bill Martin. Similar to intravenous immunoglobulin G, an autoimmune disease therapy, Tregitopes are capable of engaging regulatory T cells, the human body’s natural “off switch” for inflammation.
In vivo studies in animals have described the immune-modulating effect of Tregitopes as safe and antigen-specific (De Groot, 2008, doi:10.1182/blood-2008-02-138073). Activation and engagement of regulatory T cells is important in autoimmune diseases such as Systemic Lupus Erythematosis (SLE), Chrohn’s disease, Rheumatoid Arthritis and allergy.
The unnamed company has taken a non-exclusive license to apply EpiVax’s novel Tregitope technology to ameliorate human autoimmune diseases and allergy. The licensee will enjoy a worldwide commercial license to enhance their in-house therapeutic development strategy for allergy and autoimmunity. Other routes of administration, modes of delivery, and applications of Tregitope remain proprietary and exclusive to EpiVax.
“Tregitope is likely to be an important new tool for clinicians who wish to improve the lives of patients”, said Annie De Groot, CEO of EpiVax. “We are confident that our colleagues will successfully launch this first-in-class therapy. We continue to seek additional partners for a wide range of Tregitope applications including combination therapy (either with a co-administered antigen with a fusion protein) for autoimmune disease, allergy, transplantation, and dermatology.”
Tregitopes are a set of peptides that specifically activate CD4+CD25HiFoxP3+ natural regulatory T cells (nTregs). Tregitopes are promiscuous MHC Class II T cell epitopes first discovered in the Fc and framework regions of Fab from IgG. A collection of Tregitope publications can be found on the web.
EpiVax, Inc. is a privately held company specializing in biologics and vaccine design using proprietary tools. Products include Tregitope, JanusMatrix, and closely-held immunoinformatics assets ISPRI (Biologics), IVAX (vaccines) and Ancer (immuno-oncology, personalized vaccines). An immune-engineered H7N9 vaccine is in clinical trials. The company was founded by Annie De Groot MD, CEO and CSO, Bill Martin, COO, and Attorney Fred Stolle in 1998.