Aphios Awarded Grant from NIAID, NIH for Development of Controlled Release HIV Vaccine Adjuvant
January 29, 2001
Woburn, MA— Aphios Corporation has been awarded a SBIR grant entitled "Development of a Controlled Release HIV Vaccine Adjuvant" from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Under this grant, Aphios is developing a controlled release vehicle for HIV vaccines by utilizing biodegradable and biocompatible polymeric nanospheres to protect and sustain the release of HIV viral antigens. There is an urgent need to develop efficacious, less-expensive alternative interdictions for the treatment of HIV infection and AIDS. This is particularly true for third-world countries where the expensive cocktail treatment of HIV infection now used in industrialized countries is neither technically feasible nor economically possible. "An inexpensive, safe and effective vaccine to induce protective immunity would be the best solution," comments Dr. Castor, President and CEO, Aphios Corporation.

Vaccination remains the most cost-effective tool for the control and prevention of infectious diseases. However, multiple inoculations are often required to achieve desirable protection even with potent HIV antigens. Controlled-release technology will be quite effective in improving the therapeutic efficacy of such vaccines.

Aphios has developed an enhanced controlled-release technology for nanoencapsulating potent HIV antigens by utilizing supercritical and near-critical fluids with or without polar cosolvents (SuperFluids™). SuperFluids™ are normally gases which, when compressed, exhibit enhanced solvation, penetration and expansion properties.

Use of SuperFluids™ reduces exposure of the HIV antigens to potentially denaturing organic solvents such as methylene chloride and ethyl acetate and improves the stability of protein antigens in the body at ambient temperature for long periods, thereby enhancing the capability of nanoencapsulated HIV vaccine antigens to induce the production of protective and neutralizing antibodies. This controlled release vaccine delivery technology will have the capability to deliver different types and combinations of HIV vaccine candidates including whole inactivated HIV virus particles and/or HIV subunit protein antigens.

Aphios' nanoencapsulation technology reduces cost by eliminating unnecessary processing steps while improving the manufacturing environment. Unlike currently available technologies, this technology is quite inexpensive, amenable to large-scale processing, and quite portable. The controlled or timed release of HIV antigens through the use of this technology would minimize or obviate the need for repeat visits to clinics for booster inoculations in order to generate protective immunity. This would be a tremendous benefit for any vaccine employed in third-world countries.

Aphios Corporation is a biopharmaceutical company which is developing enhanced therapeutics for health maintenance and the treatment of human diseases with a focus on CNS, cancer, AIDS and other infectious diseases. Aphios Corporation has developed several enabling technology platforms for enhancing the discovery, manufacturing, delivery and safety of therapeutic drugs, and has several products in development with three products ready to enter clinical trials.