Gaithersburg, Md.– (PR NEWS WIRE) — February 27, 2016 — VLP Therapeutics LLC (“VLP”), a Gaithersburg-based biotechnology company focusing on the research and development of therapeutic and preventative vaccines and next-generation antibody agents based upon a novel and proprietary i-α VLP vaccine technology, today announced that it received a Maryland Industrial Partnership (MIPS) grant award for product development. MIPS, an initiative of the Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute at the University of Maryland, supports commercially driven, cooperative research between Maryland companies and university faculty that contribute to economic development in the State of Maryland.

“We are very honored to be selected as one of the recipients of MIPS Grant Awards,” said Dr. Wataru Akahata, Ph.D., Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of VLP. “We will utilize the MIPS grant to advance our malaria vaccine program. The grant will also further our commitment to developing novel and innovative vaccines as well as to contributing to the economic development in the State of Maryland.”

Through the MIPS award, VLP will work with Matthew Laurens, MD, MPH, an associate professor of pediatrics and of medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, on a first-in-human phase I/IIa safety and efficacy clinical study for vaccination against malaria using the company’s VLPM01 vaccine. The clinical study will be conducted at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR).

Both MIPS and participating companies contribute to MIPS-supported research. All funding goes to the faculty engaged in each project.

About i-α VLP Technology
The immune system is a biological structure that works to protect against disease. The human immune system detects foreign objects such as viruses, bacteria or abnormal tissues (like cancer cells) in the body, and not only tries to eliminate these objects but also memorizes them so it can protect the body from these objects in the future. Vaccines utilize such immune system functions to protect us from various diseases.

Traditional vaccines are made using live viruses, which, though rare, can cause serious safety issues. Unlike traditional vaccines, VLP’s novel, proprietary platform technology was created utilizing virus-like particles. Virus-like particles are identical to the authentic native viruses in their shapes, but do not carry any of the genetic material of native viruses. Without genetic material, these particles cannot replicate themselves. This means that when presented to the body, the immune system will recognize the particles as foreign objects, triggering effective immune responses, but without causing the side effects associated with the native virus.
Utilizing these virus-like particles, VLP Therapeutics 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 are shown to induce very strong immune responses, resulting in the superior efficacy. Additionally, unlike traditional vaccines, VLPs themselves are non-replicative because they do not carry any genetic material, and therefore are safe, having been used to make the FDA-approved vaccines for Hepatitis B virus and human papillomavirus. VLP Therapeutics has established a method to efficiently produce i-αVLPs for scaling into commercial production.

About VLP Therapeutics
VLP Therapeutics LLC (VLP) was established in 2012 by seasoned biopharmaceutical veterans with mission to develop innovative medical treatment which transforms traditional vaccine and targeted antibody therapies to address global unmet medical needs. Its vision is to combat the 21st century global public health problems through revolutionary next generation i-αVLP technology platform. VLP is currently developing preventative and therapeutic vaccines as well as next generation of targeted antibody agents to treat cancer, infectious diseases, such as Malaria, Dengue Fever and Zika virus disease, and auto-immune and neurological diseases.

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