Gaithersburg, Md. — July 21, 2017 — VLP Therapeutics, LLC (“VLP”), a biotechnology company focusing on the research and development of therapeutic and preventative vaccines and antibody agents, today announced the appointment of Jacob Licht as Chief Operating Officer.
Mr. Licht comes to VLP Therapeutics with nearly 20 years of business development and strategy experience in the biotechnology and specialty pharmaceuticals industry. He joins VLP Therapeutics after 10 years at Emergent BioSolutions, where he most recently served as VP, Corporate Development. At Emergent, Jacob led strategic planning and initiated, executed and integrated several acquisitions and strategic collaborations to grow the Company. As VLP’s Chief Operating Officer, he will lead the company’s business development, operations and corporate development efforts. Jacob holds a BA from the University of Chicago and an MBA from the Olin Business School at Washington University in St. Louis.
“Jacob has a wide range of relevant business and strategy leadership experience in the vaccine and therapeutics space,” said Wataru Akahata, Ph.D., CEO of VLP Therapeutics. “His experience will be crucial as we seek to execute strategic partnerships and raise money to ensure VLP Therapeutics’ continued growth. Additionally, his experience will be vital to our growth as we focus our innovative platform on the most promising areas and move products into the clinic.”
About VLP Therapeutics
VLP Therapeutics was established in 2012 by seasoned biopharmaceutical veterans with the mission to develop innovative medical treatments which can transform traditional vaccines and targeted antibody therapies to address global unmet medical needs. Its vision is to combat 21st century global public health problems through its revolutionary next generation i-αVLP technology platform. VLP is currently developing preventative and therapeutic vaccines as well as next generation targeted antibody agents to treat cancer, infectious diseases, such as Malaria, Dengue Fever and Zika virus-based diseases, autoimmune and neurological diseases.
About i-α VLP Technology
The human immune system is biologically designed to protect us against disease. The immune system detects foreign objects such as viruses, bacteria or abnormal self-tissues (like cancer cells) in the body, and not only tries to eliminate these foreign objects, but also “memorizes” them so it can protect the body from them in the future. Vaccines utilize the immune system to protect us from various diseases.
Traditional vaccines are made using live viruses, which, though rare, can cause serious safety risks. Unlike traditional vaccines, VLP’s novel, proprietary platform technology utilizes virus-like particles. Virus-like particles are identical to the authentic native viruses in their shapes, but do not carry the genetic material of native viruses. Without the genetic material, these particles cannot replicate themselves. This means that when the virus-like particles are presented within our bodies, our immune system will recognize the particles as foreign objects, triggering effective immune responses, but should not cause the risk of side effects associated with the native virus due to the absence of genetic material.
Utilizing these virus-like particles, VLP Therapeutics has developed a proprietary, “plug-and-play” platform called inserted alphavirus virus-like particle (i-αVLP) using the Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) VLP. Through this adaptable platform, foreign antigens can be inserted into two specific sites of the envelope protein on the surface of i-αVLP. With 240 copies of envelope protein per CHIKV VLP, each i-αVLP can display a tremendous 480 copies of an inserted antigen. This highly symmetrical, icosahedral dense array of antigens has been shown in our studies to induce very strong immune responses, resulting in its superior efficacy. VLP Therapeutics has established a method to efficiently produce i-αVLPs which it believes can be scaled for commercial production.