Fighting Lupus with an Autoimmune Disease Vaccine that Uses Limpet Proteins

lupus neovacs stellar limpet protein autoimmune immunotherapy biotech

Neovacs in Paris (France) investigates immunotherapies for the treatment of autoimmune diseases and today signed a partnering agreement with the molluscan protein manufacturer, Stellar Biotechnologies (US).

neovacs_logo_immunotherapy_lupus_stellarThis joint venture will operate under the name of Neostell SAS, and it will be owned 30:70, the majority going to Neovacs. Neovacs is a biotech focused on an active immunotherapy technology platform (Kinoids) with applications in autoimmune and (or) inflammatory diseases.

Stellar, on the other hand, is a sustainable manufacturer of Keyhole Limpet Hemocyanin (KLH), an oxygen carrier protein naturally obtained from the Keyhole Limpet  (Megathura crenulata).

KLH is used as both a finished product for measuring immune status, as well as the active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) in a wide range of immunotherapies (targeting cancer, immune disorders, Alzheimer’s, and inflammatory diseases).

our-science-klh-1klh_beovacs_limpit_lupus_
KLH is used as a carrier molecule (ingredient) for a ‘vaccine’ Immunotherapies for the autoimmune disease Lupus erythematosus (Source: Stellar Biotechnologies)

We met the CEO of Neovacs, Miguel Sieler, at BIO-Europe in November. Sieler explained how their kinoids are used to stimulate a polyclonal antibody response to a specific cytokine used (depending on the indication targeted).

For example, one immunotherapy using Stellar’s limpet proteins is Neovacs’ IFNα-Kinoid – a ‘conjugate vaccine’ being developed for the debilitating autoimmune disease, Lupus erythematosus (and dermatomyositis).

Lupus is a huge area of unmet medical demand, you can read more about who in the field is struggling to develop a therapy for it in our brief review.

neovacs-kinoides-lupus
Neovacs’ kinoids induce a natural antibody response against the targeted cytokine used (Source: Neovacs)

The investment in this production will begin after receiving positive results of the phase IIb study with IFNα-Kinoid in Lupus, which is currently under way. The site of Neostell will also be close to Paris, and is expected to hire between 50 and 100 high-qualified employees by midterm.

This is an innovative and potentially huge development in the work towards a vaccine against autoimmune diseases. We eagerly await these phase IIb results!


Feature Image Credit: The Keyhole Limpet in its Natural Habitat © shull314 (BigStock ID6491024)

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