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As part of the Therapeutic Discovery Program included in the Affordable Care Act, EpiVax has been awarded two federal grants totaling $252,722. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Treasury has awarded a total of $4.6 million in federal grants to fourteen Rhode Island biotechnology companies; EpiVax received the fourth highest award.

The purpose of the awards was to reimburse biotechnology companies for their outstanding work in creating health care therapies and solutions that could eventually present a cost-savings to the U.S. EpiVax has received funding to support past and ongoing work to develop an HIV vaccine. The grant also supports the continued development of Tregitopes as a therapeutic for immune modulation

The Tregitope QTDP program will lead to several types of therapies: a stand-alone treatment for autoimmune diseases, allergy and/or transplantation, and co-formulations of Tregitope with a wide range of existing biologic therapies (replacement proteins and antibody-based therapies). Co-formulation would reduce anti-therapeutic immune responses that currently limit efficacy for many biologics.

The major goal the HIV project is to develop a therapeutic vaccine to treat human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. Currently in the US, 1.1 million persons live with HIV and ~56,000 people are newly infected per year, making HIV treatment a high priority. A therapeutic vaccine will be a first-in-its-class HIV therapy that will not only significantly expand the existing repertoire of treatments but also reduce health care costs and patient compliance burden because it will require fewer and less regular therapeutic dosing. We are working to produce a globally relevant vaccine using computational tools to address the enormous breadth of viral and human genetic diversity.

“The United States has the most innovative companies, the most ambitious entrepreneurs and the most productive workers in the world,” said U.S. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner. “These grants will help make sure our companies, entrepreneurs and workers can continue to invest and innovate, which will strengthen our economy now and far into the future.”

EpiVax is excited to continue its goal to improve human health and is grateful to have received this funding.