Aegis Life Awarded Grant to Develop DNA-encoded Antibodies Against Infectious Diseases
Aegis Life and its parent company Entos Pharmaceuticals, a clinical-stage biotechnology company developing genetic medicines with its Fusogenix PLV delivery platform, have announced entering into a grant agreement with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. As part of the agreement, the Foundation will provide funding support to develop the Fusogenix PLV platform for the delivery of DNA-encoded monoclonal antibodies for the treatment of infectious diseases such as HIV, influenzas, and malaria. Aegis is licensed to use Entos’ technology to develop therapeutics and vaccines for infectious diseases.
“We’re very grateful to have the support of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation as we develop infectious disease therapies using Fusogenix PLV technology,” said John Lewis, Ph.D., CEO of Aegis. “The ability to safely, potently, and cost-effectively deliver therapeutic antibodies for infectious diseases like HIV, influenza, and malaria could dramatically change the trajectory of these diseases which continue to pose significant public health challenges for many low-resource settings around the world.”
Recently used as an effective treatment against COVID-19, monoclonal antibody therapies are lab-made proteins that can identify and attack infectious agents similar to how the body’s natural immune response reacts. Although they are safe and effective, monoclonal antibodies are expensive to produce and administer, making these life-saving drugs inaccessible to many people in low-and middle-income countries. By utilizing the Fusogenix PLV platform to deliver DNA encoding the therapeutic antibody directly inside the patient’s cells, the antibodies are made in the patient’s body instead of the lab. This could reduce drug costs significantly and make monoclonal antibody therapies available to everyone.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), in 2021, there were an estimated 38.4 million people living with HIV and 247 million malaria cases worldwide. An estimated 619,000 people worldwide died from malaria and devastatingly, over 75% of those deaths were children under age 5. Annual influenza epidemics are estimated to result in about 3 to 5 million cases of severe illnesses annually worldwide.
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