Avalia’s development programmes have been advancing the field of NKT cell biology to activate the immune system for the treatment of infectious disease and cancers, since 2007.
Chronic hepatitis B–
Despite the availability of preventative vaccines, 2 billion people worldwide have been infected, with the liver-targeting, hepatitis B virus (HBV) and the numbers are increasing. On average, 10% of infected patients are unable to clear the virus and progress to a life-long chronic HBV infection. Children are at significant risk, as the progression to life-long chronic HBV infection is 90% for babies infected from mother-to-child.
There is no cure for chronic hepatitis B and up to 64 million patients will progress to severe liver-related diseases, resulting in close to 1 million annual deaths worldwide.
AVA2100 – treatment therapy for cHBV
Avalia’s lead programme, is focused on a necessary cure for individuals infected with chronic HBV. It aims to provide superior activation of the innate and adaptive immune system, to overcome immune tolerance and generate a highly targeted immune response against HBV in the liver to eliminate infected cells – the desired immune response to achieve a functional cure.
Because Avalia’s immune therapies are liver-targeting, they also generate memory T cells in the liver. These cells have the long-term ability to seek and eliminate HBV-infected cells. This family of T cells, referred to as liver tissue-resident memory T cells have been reported in recent scientific journals as the potential key to the clearance of HBV.
An effective malaria preventative vaccine is considered to be the most important modality to prevent the transmission and occurrence of malaria. Avalia’s malaria vaccine programme aims to develop a more efficacious preventative vaccine to protect individuals from being infected by the malaria parasite (Plasmodium).
In 2016, there were 216 million cases of malaria in 91 countries, 5 million more than the previous year. Despite significant disease management programmes, malaria continues to claim a significant number of lives and in 2016, 445 000 people died globally.
AVA2002 – malaria prevention vaccine
Global R&D efforts are intense, but despite this, there is currently no licensed malaria vaccine. Our preclinical research efforts alongside our collaborators has shown that activating NKT cells using Avalia’s vaccines generate higher numbers of liver-resident memory T cells and protect against malaria infection.
Influenza severely affects over 3 million people annually and results in up to 650,000 deaths annually from the associated respiratory diseases caused by seasonal influenza. Due to frequent mutations of the influenza virus, current strain-specific influenza vaccines are not designed to offer protection against mutated flu strains that are not contained in the latest seasonal influenza vaccine.
This means seasonal influenza vaccines are reformulated annually to improve protection amongst the community. Long-term protection is inadequate and the holy grail is the design of a universal influenza vaccine that offers cross-strain protection and reduces vaccination frequency.
AVA2300 – influenza prevention vaccine
Avalia’s vaccines have shown to generate powerful T cell immunity in preclinical models, offering the potential of universal protection and the ability to combine with existing vaccines.
Each year, more than 2 million cancer cases are attributed to 10 different infectious agents. Seven of these are viruses, including human papillomavirus (HPV), hepatitis B and C viruses and the Epstein-Barr virus. Although several vaccines have been developed to protect individuals from the onset of cancer from these viral infections, these are only affective if received prior to exposure to the virus.
Avalia’s discovery and preclinical program is focused on developing cancer immunotherapies for those patients that have developed virus-associated cancers.
AVA1156 – treatment therapy for HPV-associated cancers
Avalia’s patented chemical design lends itself well to the treatment of HPV-associated cancers. Certain strains of HPV are responsible for the onset of cervical cancer, many anogenital cancers and head and neck cancer.
Avalia’s preclinical program has shown significantly increased survival rates and cures in models of HPV-associated cancer in combination with approved therapeutic agents and other therapies in development.
Unfortunately cancer continues to be the second leading cause of death globally. In 2015, there were approximately 8.8 million deaths from cancer. Avalia’s preclinical cancer program focuses on the development of therapeutic vaccines for the treatment of solid tumors and virus-driven cancers. Avalia’s vaccines elicit natural killer T cells to drive a potent and targeted immune response against tumors, a mechanism complementary to other treatment approaches.
AVA1200 – treatment therapy for solid tumors
Avalia’s solid tumor preclinical program focusing on eradication of solid tumors has shown meaningful tumor regression and survival benefits in models of melanoma, glioblastoma and lung cancer and also in combination with market approved therapeutic agents and others in development.
Our strategy is to use Avalia vaccines as a monotherapy to treat pre-malignant and early stage cancers. Avalia vaccines also have a role in combination therapies with other cancer fighting therapies for late stage cancers by strengthening or priming the body’s natural immune response to improve response rates of non-responder patients.