Altor BioScience Establishes Collaboration with Leading MGH Investigator to Develop TCR-based Agents to Detect and Treat HIV and HCV Infection

MIRAMAR, Fla. -- Altor BioScience Corporation announced that it has established a collaboration with Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and Howard Hughes Medical Institute to use viral specific T-cell receptors (TCR) for research, diagnosis and treatment of HIV and hepatitis C (HCV) infections.  The collaboration brings together the leading HIV/HCV research program of Professor Bruce Walker, MD, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator at the Partners AIDS Research Center at MGH, characterizing immune responses in virally infected patients, and STAR(TM) technologies developed at Altor for soluble TCR-based targeting reagents.

Hing Wong, PhD, CEO of Altor, stated, We are very excited about having the opportunity to work with Dr. Walker and his colleagues at MGH. Dr. Walker is one of the foremost authorities on viral antigen expression and the resulting T-cell immune responses in HIV and HCV infected patients.  His laboratory has generated a number of different T-cells that react against these viruses.  We have found that T-cells reactive against tumor associated antigens could be used to generate soluble TCR-based reagents, capable of quantitatively detecting antigens on cancer cells and inhibiting growth of primary tumors in animal models.  This collaboration will allow us to extend our strategies to viral diseases.

Normally, TCRs on the surface of T-cells recognize disease targets on tumor or virus-infected cells.  Altor has developed STAR technology to capture the disease recognition properties of the TCR in a soluble reagent.  Altors lead STAR molecule against cancer is currently in the late stages of pre-clinical development and is financially supported by a phase II SBIR grant from the National Cancer Institute.

Using STAR technology, Altor will work with Walkers laboratory to generate and test TCR-based diagnostic reagents.  The goal of the collaboration is to better understand and monitor changes occurring during viral infection.  If successful, Altor believes these studies could lead to immunotherapeutics that target HIV- or HCV-infected cells more effectively than currently available treatments.

Source: Altor BioScience

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