Fighting Lupus with an Autoimmune Disease Vaccine that Uses Limpet Proteins

January 21, 2016 - 2 minutes

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).

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).

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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’ 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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