$50 Million Vaccinal Antibody Technology Investment Seeks Functional Cure for HIV and Malaria Prevention
California-based Vir Biotechnology, Inc. today announced an expansion of its partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to include the advancement of innovative platform technologies in the development of broadly neutralizing antibodies designed to provide a "vaccinal effect" for the treatment of HIV and prevention of malaria.
"Vir's partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has been a formative and essential part of our company history beginning with our T-cell vaccine program targeting HIV and tuberculosis," said George Scangos, Ph.D., CEO of Vir Biotechnology, in a press release issued on January 13, 2022.
"This expanded collaboration into a second platform technology supports our shared goal of developing innovative solutions for prevention and treatment of global infectious diseases."
"We look forward to applying the lessons learned thus far in COVID-19, chronic hepatitis B virus infection and influenza to advance our efforts toward curing HIV and preventing malaria."
This novel program combines Vir's extensive immunologic and virologic expertise with the Gates Foundation's long-standing global health leadership to address two of the world's most challenging infectious diseases.
"Even though HIV has gone from being a near-term fatal disease to a chronic condition for those who have access to effective antiviral therapies, there remains a significant unmet need for new advances that could enable durable antiretroviral-free suppression of HIV," commented Mike McCune, M.D., Ph.D., head of the HIV Frontiers Program at the Gates Foundation.
"The foundation is pleased to support the development of this novel vaccinal antibody technology that has the potential to result in such suppression and is committed to advancing access to this cutting-edge innovation globally."
The Gates Foundation has committed a $40 million equity investment and a $10 million grant to support this effort.
Vir Biotechnology is a commercial-stage immunology company located in San Francisco, CA, focused on combining immunologic insights with cutting-edge technologies to treat and prevent serious infectious diseases.