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Monogram HIV Antibody Assay Is Key Vaccine Development Program

Armen Hareyan's picture

Monogram Biosciences researchers have co-authored with collaborators from Maxygen and Aldevron LLC several important abstracts presented during the Keystone HIV Vaccines: Progress and Prospects Symposium in Banff, Alberta.

Maxygen, based in Redwood City, CA, is using Monogram's Neutralizing Antibody Assay in its HIV vaccine program to rapidly and accurately screen candidate immunogens produced by gene shuffling for their ability to induce antibodies that protect against a broad range of HIV variants. The Maxygen HIV vaccine approach is being funded in part by grants from the National Institutes of Health, and the U.S. Department of Defense.

"The research presented at the Keystone Symposium underscores the value that Monogram's advanced HIV assays bring to not only clinical practice and the development of new classes of HIV therapeutics, but to promising vaccine programs as well," said Chris Petropoulos, PhD, Monogram's Chief Scientific Officer and Vice President of Research and Development, Virology. "Maxygen has made great strides in developing vaccines against incredibly challenging viruses. Their sophisticated development process and use of advanced screening technologies, including the Monogram assay, have led to the development of HIV vaccine candidates that elicit more promising antibody responses than any other program we've seen."

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Maxygen-Monogram co-authored abstracts presented at the meeting in Banff included an oral presentation by Dr. X. Sean Du of Maxygen, "Directed Molecular Evolution Created Genetic and Antigenic Diversity and Improved Overall Immunogenicity of HIV-1 gp12- Immunogen," which detailed Maxygen's program to recombine and manipulate viral envelope DNA in order to produce vaccines which can neutralize a broad number of HIV variants. Other abstracts, presented during poster sessions, included:

-- Comparison of Trimeric Motifs for Their Effects on Trimer Formation, Antigenicity and Immunogenicity of a Non-cleavable JRCSF HIV-1 gp140 Immunogen;

-- ParallelaVax(TM) Technology for High-Throughput HIV-1 Vaccine Screening; and

-- Broad Survey of the Immunogenicity of HIV-1 Envelope Proteins.

"Our approach to developing a successful HIV vaccine is grounded in our ability to thoroughly and rapidly examine how well our immunogenetic candidates produce virus-neutralizing antibodies in animal models," said Maxygen Director of Infectious Diseases, Robert Whalen, D.Sc. "Our partnership with Monogram has been critical to our program's speed, productivity and progress towards a viable HIV vaccine."