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Bionor Immuno Researchers Discover Pathway that Allows HIV “Natural Viral Suppressors” to Live Without Symptoms; Study Findings Confirm Potential for Vacc-C5

A study performed in collaboration with the University of Maryland School of Medicine’s Institute for Human Virology leads Bionor Immuno researchers to believe they have found a way to replicate the immune responses previously associated with “natural viral suppressors,” those people who are able naturally to control HIV without medication, the Company announced today

(Oslo, Norway, Washington, DC 29 June 2010)

 

A study performed in collaboration with the University of Maryland School of Medicine’s Institute for Human Virology leads Bionor Immuno researchers to believe they have found a way to replicate the immune responses previously associated with “natural viral suppressors,” those people who are able naturally to control HIV without medication, the Company announced today.

 

Bionor Pharma's subsidiary, Bionor Immuno has tested blood samples from HIV-infected patients and demonstrated significant antibody reactivity to Vacc-C5 in blood from patients who control the HIV infection without the use of ART medicine (so-called “natural viral suppressors”). 

 

The study was performed in collaboration with Professor Robert Redfield at the University of Maryland, Baltimore, USA, using ELISA tests on blood samples from a total of 57 HIV-infected patients, of which 43 were HIV natural viral suppressors with very low viral load. Reactivity to Vacc-C5 was significantly greater in these patients compared to patients with medium/high viral load. The study showed a difference in reactivity towards Vacc-C5 between the two groups at a 98% significance level.

 

This study confirms that antigens identified previously by the Company are directly associated with the antibodies associated with natural viral suppressors.

 

Earlier studies have shown that patients who control HIV infection over many years without the need for antiretroviral therapy have antibodies to a specific region called C5 on the HIV surface glycoprotein gp120. Bionor Immuno has identified and filed a patent application for a combination of C5 and the adjacent gp41 that anchors gp120 to the viral surface.  This combination is considered crucial in order to induce production of the specific antibodies in question, and the Company researchers believe Vacc-C5 has the potential to produce this response.

The immunogenicity of Vacc-C5 has recently also been confirmed in pre-clinical studies in rabbits.

 

 “This test of blood samples shows that Vacc-C5 addresses the part of the HIV-virus that induces production of antibodies highly correlated to control of HIV-infection,” said Birger Sørensen, Executive Vice President.  “If later clinical tests prove that our new vaccine combination generates sufficient relevant immune response in humans, we hope to be the first to have a therapeutic vaccine that can effectively control HIV-replication.

 

“Our most advanced cell-mediated vaccine, Vacc-4x, uses a completely different strategy by teaching the immune system to attack HIV-infected cells. Vacc-4x is our lead therapeutic vaccine, but Vacc-C5 and Vacc-4x represent complementary therapies that combined may also lead to an effective preventive vaccine, said Sørensen”

 

This information is subject of the disclosure requirements acc. to §5-12 vphl

(Norwegian Securities Trading Act)

 

About Bionor Immuno

Bionor Immuno is an innovative biotech company developing pharmaceutical-grade

peptide vaccines that stimulate cell-mediated or humoral immunity. Bionor Immuno carefully designs synthetic peptides from low-mutating parts of the virus which are then modified to improve immunogenicity, resulting in enhanced efficacy and safety profiles. HIV is the first disease targeted, with the most advanced vaccine candidate, a cell-mediated vaccine, about to finish clinical phase IIb. However, Bionor Immuno's platform technology is broadly applicable, and the company has a humoral vaccine candidate for HIV in pre-clinical phase, in addition to vaccine candidates for chronic infections such as Hepatitis C (HCV), Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) and Influenza. Bionor Immuno is a wholly owned subsidiary of Bionor Pharma ASA, listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol "BIONOR".

 

Contact information

Trond Syvertsen , CEO

+47 23 01 09 60

+47 91 72 14 57

syvertsen@bionorpharma.com

 

Rolf Henning Lem, CFO

+47 23 01 09 61

+47 97 74 88 45

rhl@bionorpharma.com

 

Birger Sørensen, EVP and Head of Vaccines

+47 404 07 565

+47 23 01 09 60

bs@bionorpharma.com