Global Epidemiology of AIDS
AIDS remains one of the major public health problems in the world, and has so far claimed the lives of nearly 33 million people. However, with more and more opportunities to obtain effective HIV prevention, diagnosis, treatment and care (including opportunistic infections), HIV infection has been transformed into a controllable chronic health condition, enabling AIDS patients to live through Long-term normal life.
The first long-acting anti-HIV drug just launched
As of June 2020, 26 million people are receiving antiretroviral therapy. Recently (1/21), the US FDA approved the launch of the first long-acting HIV drug Cabenuva (cabotegravir and rilpivirine, injection formulations), helping patients to transform from daily treatment to once a month for a total of 12 treatments throughout the year , Which greatly improves the drug compliance of the therapy.
Global AIDS treatment market overview
However, the total value of the global anti-HIV drug market in 2019 is approximately US$30.89 billion, and it is expected to reach US$36.49 billion by 2027, with a compound annual growth rate of 3.8%. Facing such a huge business opportunity, major pharmaceutical companies such as Boehringer Ingelheim, MSK, AbbVie, Roche, Teva Pharmaceutical, Pfizer, Gilead, Johnson & Johnson are also actively developing new drugs or new therapies to fight HIV.
Gilead partners with Gritstone Oncology to develop T cell-driven vaccines against HIV
On February 1, Gilead decided to cooperate with Gritstone to develop a therapeutic vaccine against HIV using Gritstone’s exclusive initial-plus vaccine platform, which includes self-amplifying mRNA (SAM) and adenovirus The carrier and the antigen developed by Gilead.
According to the contract, Gilead will pay $60 million to Gritstone upon completion of the transaction, including an upfront cash payment of $30 million and a premium equity investment of $30 million. Gilead will be responsible for the first phase of HIV therapeutic vaccine research and has the exclusive right to obtain exclusive authorization to develop and commercialize HIV therapeutic vaccines after the first phase. Gritstone is also eligible to receive a tiered license fee from the median to the lower two-digits of the net sales after commercialization if the option is exercised and certain clinical, regulatory and commercial rights licensing fees are reached. 725 million US dollars.
Use simian immunodeficiency virus as antigen
Karin Jooss, Executive Vice President of R&D and Director of Science and Technology of Gritstone, mentioned: “A strong immune response triggered by the delivery of viral antigens of effective vaccine vectors is the cornerstone of successful infectious disease vaccines. Therefore, Gritstone’s preclinical work has developed a powerful vaccine Technology, which uses antigens derived from simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) as a model antigen, which is very similar to HIV-1.”
Induces CD8 + T cell response against HIV
As a result, the powerful, long-lasting and extensive anti-SIV CD8 + T cell response and T cell memory data generated by the vaccine platform attracted the attention of the Gilead virology team. The two parties also conducted further experiments, which also produced more exciting data. Convincing data, including neoantigens and HIV treatments for cancer patients.
Gritstone President and CEO Andrew Allen mentioned that CD8 + T cells are very important for eliminating virus-infected cells. Both parties have established a highly differentiated vaccine platform that has been proven to produce a large number of antigen-specific T cells, including CD8 + T cells can be produced even in advanced cancer patients with weakened immune function.
Diana Brainard, MD, senior vice president of virology therapy at Gilead, mentioned that although the treatment of AIDS has improved significantly in the past three decades, these patients still need to be treated for life. Cure for AIDS is still Gilead’s final aspiration for AIDS research and development. Therefore, they saw the potential of Gritstone’s vaccine technology to use SAM and adenovirus vectors to educate the immune system to specifically identify and destroy HIV-infected cells, and hope that both parties will end AIDS together.