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New HIV Capsid Assembly Inhibitor Development
 
 
  Vironova invests in HIV drugs
 
Recently, Vironova announced that the company extends its HIV drug development pipeline

 
The Swedish drug delivery company Vironova today announced it has reached an agreement with University of Maryland, Baltimore County, UMBC. The agreement regards transfer of rights to patents concerning certain substances and know-how for the development of new drugs against HIV.
 
Under the terms of the agreement Vironova is granted exclusive worldwide rights to two patent families owned by UMBC. The patents cover inventions related to substances and targets for so called capsid assembly inhibitors and are based on discoveries made by Michael Summers at UMBC and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.
 
Capsid assembly inhibitors are a new class of antiviral substances that represent a new approach for preventing and treating viral diseases. Virus capsid assembly is commonly a stepwise intracellular process. It usually starts with proteins that assemble into larger building blocks, which then assemble into virus capsids. Most virus capsids are symmetrical and are made up of 60 identical protein units.
 
This means that there are a certain number contacts between the proteins that are needed to maintain the structure of the virus particle. These contacts are both within and between the protein building blocks. Correct assembly of structural proteins is essential for the virus to survive the extracellular environment and to become infectious. Hence, these proteins represent potential drug targets.
 
The HIV drug development program at Vironova is primarily focusing on capsid assembly inhibitors. So far, much of the work has evolved around assessing the IP and potential of these capsid assembly inhibitors substances at the Karolinska Institutet. These activities will now be extended to include the laboratory of Michael Summers.
 
Press Release
For immediate publication
VIRONOVA EXTENDS ITS HIV DRUG DEVELOPMENT PIPELINE
 
Stockholm (Sweden) and Baltimore (Maryland, USA) - December 19th, 2008. Vironova today announced it has reached an agreement with University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) regarding transfer of rights to patents concerning certain substances and know-how for the development of new drugs against HIV. Under the terms of the agreement Vironova is granted exclusive worldwide rights to two patent families owned by UMBC.
 
The patents cover inventions related to substances and targets for so called capsid assembly inhibitors (CAI) and are based on discoveries made by Professor Michael F. Summers at UMBC and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Professor Summers is a world authority in HIV research and will stay in close cooperation with Vironova as the projects progress towards clinical development. The financial terms of the agreement have not been disclosed.
 
The HIV drug development programme at Vironova is primarily focusing on CAIs. So far, much of the work has evolved around assessing the IP and potential of these CAI substances at the Karolinska Institute, Huddinge (Stockholm), under the supervision of Professor Jan Bergman. These activities will now be extended to include the laboratory of Professor Summers.
 
"By closing this agreement, we are pleased to solidify our collaboration with professor Summers and his team at the UMBC. I 'm convinced our joined forces will result in many new drug candidate discoveries", says Mr Mohammed Homman, CEO and founder of Vironova.
 
"We are excited about moving forward with this international collaboration," says professor Summers. "Vironova's expertise in drug design and optimization will hopefully lead to the breakthroughs needed to get this new class of HIV-1 capsid assembly inhibitors into the clinic"
 
About CAIs
Capsid assembly inhibitors (CAI) are a new class of antiviral substances that represent a new approach for preventing and treating viral diseases. Virus capsid assembly is commonly a stepwise intracellular process. It usually starts with proteins that assemble into larger building blocks, which then assemble into virus capsids. Most virus capsids are symmetrical and are made up of 60 identical protein units. This means that there are a certain number contacts between the proteins that are needed to maintain the structure of the virus particle. These contacts are both within and between the protein building blocks.
 
Correct assembly of structural proteins is essential for the virus to survive the extracellular environment and to become infectious. Hence, these proteins represent potential drug targets.
 
This novel class of antivirals is particularly promising for three reasons:
 
1. The targets are protein-protein contacts between the virus structural proteins, which are crucial for correct assembly of the virus into infectious virions.
2. The protein domain that is targeted is often highly conserved among different viruses within the same family which enables broad range treatment.
3. The molecule inhibits essential interactions between virus structural proteins that are critical for the overall integrity and survival of the virus particle. Hence, even if CAI-induced mutations could occur, such mutations would lead to non-infectious virus particles.
 
Thanks to its automated image analysis technology, Vironova is uniquely positioned in its antiviral strategy. This technology offers a very detailed analysis of the mechanism of action of structural inhibitors, which significantly speeds up the screening of potential CAIs in the early stages of drug development.
 
 
 
 
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