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VIRxSYS Presents Data on HIV Vaccine at Keystone HIV Vaccine Symposia
Date:3/28/2008

HIV-Based Lentiviral vector VRX1023 Shows Promising Results

GAITHERSBURG, Md., March 28 /PRNewswire/ -- VIRxSYS Corporation will present initial scientific data for VRX1023 today at the Keystone Symposia Conference in Banff, Alberta. VRX1023 is part of a new vaccine approach -- using HIV-based lentivector as vector boost. VRX1023, an HIV antigen expressing lentiviral vector, has produced positive results in mice and in preliminary non-human primate studies. A larger, confirmatory study in Rhesus Macaques has been initiated.

"VRX1023 shows exciting promise," says Dr. Franck Lemiale, Director of Research and Development, Immunobiology for VIRxSYS. "The results from these mouse studies are very encouraging. We have seen significant long term response against HIV proteins both in terms of cellular immunity, which is mediated by T Lymphocytes, and humoral immunity, which is mediated by antibodies."

VIRxSYS takes a different approach as anti-HIV vaccine than recently publicized failed vaccines. The company is using an engineered HIV-based lentiviral vector to deliver the vaccinating antigens. In small animals, the VRX1023 lentivector has induced long-lasting cellular and humoral response against HIV. Using a DNA prime/vector boost strategy, VIRxSYS has obtained with VRX1023 greater anti-HIV immune responses than with other viral vector boost approaches currently used in the clinic, including adenoviral vectors similar to those that have been extensively tested in patients.

The ultimate goal for an anti-HIV vaccine is to suppress the impact of the initial infection, thereby significantly slowing the process of the disease. Due to the properties of the virus, a traditional total sterilizing goal may not be achievable for an anti-HIV vaccine. The next step would be to a prophylactic vaccine, which would reduce the impact of hyper-viremia in the first weeks of the infection. The aim of this vaccine is to suppress initial viremia, preventing the massive destruction of CD4 T cells, and also to halt the subsequent slow destruction of the immune system by the latently dormant virus. Individuals will be protected but not totally sterilized, minimizing the likelihood of new infections.

"The use of a HIV-based lentiviral vector represents a truly innovative approach to anti-HIV vaccine and to all vaccination strategies in general. With VRX1023 in particular, we are turning HIV against itself. We are exploiting the virus ability to efficiently produce proteins for vaccination purposes," said Riku Rautsola, PhD, President and CEO of VIRxSYS. "VRX1023 presents us with a renewed hope for the delivery of an anti-HIV vaccine."

About VIRxSYS

VIRxSYS is a private biotechnology company using proprietary lentiviral vector delivery and RNA payload platforms to develop therapies for serious human diseases. The Company's initial lentiviral delivery technology was exclusively licensed from The Johns Hopkins University and has been substantially advanced in the Company's laboratories. The RNA payload technology was acquired and has been integrated with the Company's lentiviral delivery technology. In addition to preclinical programs for genetic and other serious diseases, the Company is currently developing gene and vaccine therapies for HIV, one of which, VRX496, has advanced to Phase 2 human clinical trials. More information regarding VIRxSYS can be found at http://www.virxsys.com. Details for the Phase II study can be found at the NIH clinical trials website at clinicaltrials.gov/show/NCT00131560.

Contact: Jeneane Smith / Russell LaMontagne

Phone: 212.255.5340


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