HpVac Announces New Animal Data of its Lead Compound Demonstrating Protection Against Allergic Asthma
– Major milestone for accelerating the development of HpVac-13 in allergic diseases
HpVac SA, a company developing novel preventive and therapeutic first-line therapies against allergic and inflammatory diseases, today announced new data on its lead compound HpVac-13 for the treatment and prevention of asthmatic attacks in an animal disease model of allergic asthma.
Based on the observation that certain components of the human gut microbiome confer protection against various diseases, HpVac has developed HpVac-13, a molecule harnessing the beneficial potential of some microbial species. The compound is a patented, recombinant version of a naturally occurring immunomodulatory protein and is associated with strong epidemiological evidence of protecting humans against asthma and other allergic diseases.
The Company now disclosed the results of testing the compound in a common animal disease model of allergic asthma. Mice sensitized intranasally with whole-body house dust mite extract – a procedure which has been shown to reproduce hallmarks of human allergic asthma, including Th2-driven allergic inflammation and pronounced airway hyperresponsiveness – were treated with HpVac-13 and subsequently challenged with the antigen. As compared to untreated controls, treated mice demonstrated a statistically significant reduction in airway hyperresponsiveness. In addition, a reduction in bronchoalveolar lavage total cell count (BAL TCC), including a reduction of recruitment of eosinophils into BAL, was observed. Eosinophils are involved in the development of severe asthma or asthma exacerbation and used as a biomarker for asthma. Moreover, treated mice showed a remarkable reduction in mucus-producing cells and an improvement of lung function through reduction in airway hyperresponsiveness.
“We are very pleased to have demonstrated that our compound significantly reduces asthma symptoms in this standard model,” said Dr. Christine Serratrice, CMO of HpVac. “We also see a reduction in typical asthma biomarkers. All in all, HpVac-R13 displays anti-inflammatory properties associated with T-cell and B-cell activation and has a unique phenotypic profile which does not resemble any other known drug molecule.”
“We strongly believe that our compound paves the way for a disease-modifying allergy treatment,” said Dr. Jeffrey Shaw, CEO of HpVac. “With one capsule a week, we may be able to address a broad spectrum of allergic diseases without causing adverse side effects.”
He added that the Company is initiating large-scale GMP production of its lead molecule and is in the process of starting IND-enabling studies.
HpVac-13 is a molecule derived from a protein secreted by Helicobacter pylori, a common constituent of the human gastric microbiota, that protects itself against elimination by modulating the host’s immune system toward a tolerance response. H. pylori has been shown to provide protection against several human allergic and inflammatory diseases, including asthma, atopic dermatitis, and hay fever. For its novel allergy treatments, HpVac is using only the protein enabling the bacterium to modulate the human immune system by inducing the local expression of high levels of IL-10 and TGF-b to provoke the maturation of T cells into immunotolerant Treg cells. The compound has been administered orally, intraperitoneally, and intranasally to mice with no unexpected side effects. Chronic exposure to HpVac-13 has demonstrated its excellent tolerability and lack of toxicity in humans.
About HpVac SA
HpVac, a privately owned company founded in 2016, is focused on the development of novel microbiome-based therapeutics. Its lead compound HpVac-13 is designed as a preventive and therapeutic first-line therapy against asthma, eczema, food allergies and related allergic diseases, as well as inflammatory bowel conditions such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. The Company is based in Geneva, Switzerland.