Peptimmune, Inc. ("Peptimmune"), a privately held biotechnology company announced today that it has formed a research and development collaboration with the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR) and the Naval Medical Research Center (NMRC), Silver Spring, MD to evaluate the Company's proprietary DEEP(TM) peptide copolymer technology for the potential development of dengue vaccines and point-of-care diagnostics.
After more than 70 years of work a safe and effective dengue virus (DENV) vaccine remains an elusive goal. Previous vaccine candidates have shown unpredictable interactions among the four DENVs often leading to unwanted reactogenicity and low seroconversion rates. Rapid, serotype-specific diagnosis of DENV infection is an equally perplexing problem. Existing tests are often confounded after secondary dengue infection due to extensive serotype cross-reactivity, and the rapid evolution of DENV strains in many regions of the world.
Peptimmune has developed a novel peptide copolymer-based technology, DEEP (Directed Expansion of Epitope Permutations), which may overcome these problems. The goal of this research and development collaboration is to evaluate the DEEP technology to potentially design DENV-specific peptide copolymers containing (1) potentially protective T-cell epitopes, (2) serotype-specific diagnostic epitopes, and (3) protective B-cell epitopes for generating immuno-prophylactic antibodies. WRAIR/NMRC investigators bring to the effort their expert knowledge of DENV. Evaluation of the diagnostics and vaccines generated in the collaboration will be performed in laboratory models at WRAIR/NMRC.
The results of this collaborative effort have the potential to provide important insights into dengue immunity and advance the development of a protective vaccine.