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EpiVax commits resources to bring its Tregitope platform to clinic

A pioneering firm in immunogenicity comes of age

Dr. Anne S. De Groot, CEO of EpiVax, Inc., is one of the original biotech pioneers in Rhode Island. Her firm's slogan is "Science without Fear."
PHOTO BY SCOTT KINGSLEY

Dr. Anne S. De Groot, CEO of EpiVax, Inc., is one of the original biotech pioneers in Rhode Island. Her firm’s slogan is “Science without Fear.”

By Richard Asinof
Posted 9/21/13

PROVIDENCE – At age 15, EpiVax is one of the more “mature” biotechnology companies residing in what’s now known as the Knowledge District.

The firm’s first digs were in a nearby building that’s now a tattoo studio. The space EpiVax currently occupies on Clifford Street adjacent to Chestnut Street was once the home to a bindery company and a company that made slide shows for corporate customers – in the era before digital cameras and PowerPoint.

In the future, EpiVax founder and CEO Dr. Anne S. De Groot is excited about the possibility to move her lab to a prospectively designed space within the redesigned Dynamo House building. “We would like to have a planned, designed space that would be cutting-edge to do this work,” she said.

Since its first days as a startup in 1998, EpiVax has been at the forefront of scientific advances, a thought leader in immunology and bioinformatics.

“When we first spun out of Brown, our concept was to create an HIV vaccine,” she told ConvergenceRI in a recent interview. The Slater Fund provided the founding seed money, followed by a SBIR award. “We’re still wedded to that concept; we still plan on making an HIV vaccine,” De Groot said. “We still think that an epitope-based HIV vaccine will work.

The funding stream, she continued, is currently devoted to other ways of doing the vaccine. “Everyone is chasing the wild antibody while we’ve remained focused on T cells. We’re going to continue to push that work forward, with or without NIH funding. That’s the foundation of the company.”

Following Sept. 11, 2001, EpiVax branched out, following the funding stream, moving from solving global health problems to focusing on … FULL ConvergenceRI Article Here