HOOKIPA Pharma Inc. (HOOK)
First Day Turnover
We are a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company developing a new class of immunotherapeutics targeting infectious diseases and cancers based on our proprietary arenavirus platform that is designed to reprogram the body's immune system. We are using our "off-the-shelf" technologies, VaxWave and TheraT, to elicit directly within patients a powerful and durable response of antigen-specific killer T cells and antibodies, thereby activating essential immune defenses against infectious diseases and cancers.
We believe that our technologies can meaningfully leverage the human immune system for prophylactic and therapeutic purposes by eliciting killer T cell response levels previously not achieved by other published immunotherapy approaches. Our lead infectious disease product candidate, HB-101, is in a randomized, double-blinded Phase 2 clinical trial in cytomegalovirus-negative patients awaiting kidney transplantation from cytomegalovirus-positive donors. Our lead oncology product candidates, HB-201 and HB-202, are in development for the treatment of human papillomavirus-positive cancers. We plan to file an investigational new drug application with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for HB-201 and HB-202 in the first half and second half of 2019, respectively. We have also entered into a strategic partnership with Gilead Sciences, Inc. to accelerate building a pipeline of additional infectious disease product candidates in a cost efficient manner.
Our platform is based on engineering arenaviruses to carry and deliver virus-specific or tumor-specific genes directly in patients to dendritic cells, which are natural activators of killer T cells, also known as cytotoxic T cells, or CD8+ T cells. Arenaviruses have been used for decades as a preclinical tool to study CD8+ T cell responses.
Our co-founder, Rolf Zinkernagel, was awarded a Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his arenavirus-based work on how CD8+ T cells recognize virus-infected cells. We believe that arenaviruses have several key advantages which give them the characteristics of an optimal antigen-specific immunotherapy, including:
• ability to induce a robust CD8+ T cell response by directly targeting and activating dendritic cells, which are the most efficient antigen-presenting cells of the body;
• ability to induce a robust antibody response to disease-specific target antigens;
• are not neutralized by vector-specific antibodies, thereby allowing for repeat administration that can boost immune response;
• do not require an adjuvant to stimulate the immune system; and
• have been observed to be well tolerated in preclinical studies and clinical trials