Potential Lupus Immunotherapy Vaccine Advancing in France

Ines Martins, PhD avatar

by Ines Martins, PhD |

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SLE diagnostics and monitoring

Neovacs announced it has concluded a four-year, €5 million ($5.5 million) non-dilutive funding agreement to finalize clinical development and start the production process for its therapeutic IFN Kinoid vaccine. The funding, in the form of grants and repayable advances, came through a decision of The General Commission for Investment, operated by Bpifrance, a subsidiary of the French government that finances promising private-sector work.

Neovacs is a leading biotechnology company focused on an active immunotherapy technology platform (Kinoids) with applications in autoimmune or inflammatory diseases, like systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Neovacs is now advancing the clinical development of IFNα-Kinoid, an immunotherapy being developed as a lupus treatment.

“We are proud that the development of our IFN Kinoid has been included in this French state plan, dedicated to the most promising industrial projects. The support from the General Commission for Investment and Bpifrance, approved after an extensive study by different public institutions, confirms the value and credibility of our technology platform. This decision considers also the chances of success of this treatment for autoimmune diseases, specifically in Lupus, which affects more than five million patients around the world,” Neovacs’ CEO, Miguel Sieler, said in a press release.

IFNα-Kinoid is currently in a Phase 2b double-blind, randomized, and placebo-controlled clinical trial of SLE patients in Europe, Asia, and Latin America. The trial’s co-primary endpoints are biological efficacy and clinical efficacy nine months after first treatment. Results are expected in the first quarter of 2017.

Neovac will scale up vaccine production after concluding the trial, with a production site to be located near Paris and expected to generate between 50 and 100 skilled jobs.

Neovac was founded in 1993 by the French immunologist Daniel Zagury, MD, Ph.D, and is a spin-off from the University Pierre et Marie Curie in Paris. The funding agreement was awarded through the Bpifrance program PIAVE, Industrial Projects for the Future.

A non-dilutive funding agreement means that the money received does not affect company ownership.