Gilead Sciences recently signed a license agreement with Hookipa Biotech. According to the agreement, Gilead will own exclusive rights to Hookipa’s technologies called TheraT and Vaxwave.
TheraT and Vaxwave are vector-based immunization technologies for HIV and hepatitis B.
Gilead will fund research and development, but both companies will conduct research. Hookipa will manufacture arenavirus-based vectors while Gilead will work on clinical development.
Hookipa Biotech currently has a Vaxvave-based Cytomegalovirus (CMV) vaccine in Phase I testing. Its TheraT-based head and neck cancer vaccine called HB-201 is also about to enter Phase I testing.
Hookipa arenaviral vectors induce stronger t-cell responses compared to other vaccines. Gilead, on the other hand, has been struggling with its hepatitis C franchise and is hoping to give its HIV products a push through this collaboration.
Gilead will pay Hookipa $10 million upfront. They will also pay up to $400 million if Hookipa can achieve certain development, regulatory, and commercial milestones.
According to Hookipa chief executive officer Joern Aldag, Gilead is the perfect partner for the biotech as it a world leader in developing innovative therapies for major viral diseases.
Gilead aims to eliminate the need for life-long antiviral therapy in patients around the world. The team is confident that the Hookipa’s unique therapeutic vaccine technology in combination with Gilead’s research can revolutionize HIV and hepatitis B treatments and vaccines.
About Hookipa Biotech
Hookipa Biotech aims to develop active immunization therapies for infectious diseases and oncology.
Its proprietary TheraT and Vaxwave platforms can elicit high neutralizing antibody responses and T cell responses. Hookipa’s vectors provide greater immune protection as they can be administered repeatedly. TheraT can generate unprecedented levels of specific T cells and has the potential to transform immunotherapy for cancers.
The biotech has completed the active phase of a Phase 1 trial of a Vaxwave-based vaccine against CMV. It is finalizing clinical development plans for TheraT in human papilloma virus (HPV) related head and neck cancers.