Argos Therapeutics Awarded NIH Contract to Further Develop HIV Immunotherapy Candidates


DURHAM, N.C.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Argos Therapeutics today announced that it has been awarded a $21 million National Institutes of Health contract to develop novel HIV immunotherapy candidates. Argos is developing personalized, RNA-loaded dendritic cell immunotherapy products designed to train the patients immune system to recognize, target, and destroy unique features of their disease.

This substantial NIH award provides important validation of Argos pioneering approach to personalized immunotherapy, which may have strong applications not only for HIV, but also for cancer and other infectious diseases, commented Dr. Charles Nicolette, Vice President of Research and Development at Argos and Principle Investigator for the contract. Our unique technology utilizes patient-specific HIV antigens, allowing immune targeting of all private mutations that differ from patient to patient. This product candidate should induce immune responses perfectly matched to each individuals unique viral profile.

The contract, titled HIV Vaccine Design and Development Teams, was issued by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The goal of this contract is to determine the immunogenicity of Argos HIV immunotherapy candidate, currently in clinical trials, and subsequently develop even more potent next-generation product candidates. Therapies successfully identified and optimized through this contract would then be tested in a multi-center, randomized, placebo-controlled clinical study.

Research in RNA-loaded dendritic cell immunotherapies for HIV treatment may provide the next important and effective treatment option for infectious disease, stated Dr. Jeff Jacobson, Chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases and HIV Medicine at Drexel University College of Medicine in Philadelphia, PA, and Principle Investigator for the clinical trial to be conducted under the contract. We are therefore eager to participate in Argos program and realize the promise of immunotherapy for HIV.

The five-year contract is valued at $21.3 million. Argos has partnered with a number of leading institutions who will participate in the development program. The award will cover substantially all of the costs associated with the development of the next-generation HIV immunotherapies, as well as portions of costs related to Argos current HIV candidate development. Additionally, Argos retains commercial rights to any candidates that are developed through this funded research.

About RNA-loaded Dendritic Cell Technology

Argos proprietary approach to personalized immunotherapy is based on optimizing a patients own (autologous) dendritic cells to trigger a patient-specific immune response. To address the challenge of the unique genetic profile and mutations of each patients disease, Argos loads the autologous dendritic cells with RNA, encoding the patients unique antigens. Through this process, dendritic cells can coordinate immune responses to recognize the complete antigenic repertoire of a particular patients cancer or infection, resulting in a specifically personalized immunotherapy.

About Argos Therapeutics, Inc.

Argos Therapeutics is developing breakthrough immunotherapies that target the unique features of a patients disease. This new generation of personalized cancer and HIV therapeutics trains the immune system to recognize and attack the disease. Argos scientific leadership in RNA-loaded dendritic cells and advanced manufacturing processes provide a platform to tackle virtually all forms of cancers and infectious diseases.

Argos is a private biotechnology company headquartered in Research Triangle Park, NC. The company has multiple clinical trial programs in renal cell carcinoma (RCC), chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and has an ongoing co-development and commercialization alliance with the pharmaceutical division of Kirin Brewery Company, Limited.