Gilead Sciences, Hookipa in $410-Million Immunotherapy Deal for HIV, Hepatitis B

Gilead Sciences and Hookipa Biotech, a Vienna, Austria-headquartered biopharmaceutical company developing immunotherapies for cancer and infectious diseases, have formed a research and license pact worth up to $410 million that grants Gilead rights to Hookipa’s arenavirus vector-based immunization technologies (TheraT and Vaxwave) for treating hepatitis B virus and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

Under the agreement, Gilead will provide an upfront payment of $10 million. Additionally, Hookipa will be eligible to receive milestone payments based upon the achievement of specified development, regulatory, and commercial milestones up to a total of more than $400 million. Gilead will fund all research and development activities. Hookipa will also be eligible to receive tiered royalties on net sales.

Hookipa´s Vaxwave technology is viral vector platform designed to overcome the limitations of current technologies, according to information from Gilead. It is based on lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV). In this vector, the gene encoding the LCMV envelope protein, normally responsible for virus entry into target cells, has been deleted and replaced with an antigen of interest. The resulting vectors infect dendritic cells and stimulate an immune response; however they cannot replicate and are therefore non-pathogenic, according to information from the company.

Hookipa’s TheraT platform is based on an attenuated replicating arenavirus and is capable of eliciting T cell responses, specifically antigen-specific CD8+ cytotoxic T cell responses, according to information from Gilead. The first clinical trial with HB-201 targeting human papilloma virus-induced head and neck cancer is currently being prepared. This immuno-oncology technology is further being leveraged to target tumor self-antigens or shared neoantigens.

Source: Gilead Sciences

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