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GeoVax Labs, Inc. has collaborated with Vaxeal Holding SA on the expansion of GeoVax's cancer immunotherapy program. GeoVax's immuno-oncology program is based on its Modified Vaccinia Ankara (MVA) Virus-Like Particle (VLP) platform, which generates noninfectious VLPs in the individual being vaccinated. Gene sequences of target antigens are inserted into the MVA genome which drives their expression in infected cells. In addition, GeoVax introduces into the viral genome matrix sequences that incorporate antigens into VLPs and simultaneously facilitate their budding from the membranes of infected cells. In this way, vaccination induces two pools of antigens as targets for the immune response virus-infected cells and released VLPs. This strategy mimics a natural viral infection, triggering the body to produce a robust and durable immune response with involvement of both antibodies and T cells.

With many advanced types of cancer, certain tumor- associated antigens such as CEA (cancer embryonic antigen), PSA (prostate specific antigen) and MUC1 (cell surface associated mucin 1) are over-expressed (that is, produced in very large quantities) and aberrantly expressed (produced in abnormal forms). These antigens are often recognized as abnormal by patients' immune systems but are not sufficiently immunogenic to trigger an effective immune response against the tumor. The tumor antigens must be presented to the body in a different form, or in a different way, to enlist the patient's own immune system in fighting the cancer. GeoVax believes that its MVA-VLP platform may be able to do exactly this -- training a patient's own immune system to selectively seek and destroy the cancer cells bearing such antigens.

The collaboration between GeoVax and Vaxeal includes the design, construction, characterization and animal testing of vaccine candidates using GeoVax's MVA-VLP vaccine platform. Vaccine antigens will include Vaxeal's proprietary designed sequences.

Farshad Guirakhoo, PhD, GeoVax's Chief Scientific Officer, commented, We are pleased to begin this collaboration with Vaxeal to further expand GeoVax's promising cancer immunotherapy program. This project will be complementary and mutually exclusive to our ongoing collaboration with ViaMune, Inc. for co-developing cancer immunotherapies based on the MUC1 tumor-associated antigen. We intend to pursue additional collaborations with leading research institutions and others with their novel cancer antigens or technologies suitable for use with our MVA-VLP platform.

We are delighted to enter into this agreement with GeoVax to support its MVA-VLP- based vaccine, using Vaxeal proprietary tumor antigens, and its anticipated progression into clinical trials, said Ahmed Bouzidi, PhD, CEO of Vaxeal. This agreement also shows that Vaxeal remains fully committed to developing novel immunotherapies that meet the growing need for improved cancer treatments.

About Vaxeal

Vaxeal Holding SA is headquartered in Vevey, Switzerland. The company, in partnership with international research institutes, is developing therapeutic vaccines in combination with immuno-modulatory drugs for the treatment of cancers and infectious diseases. The immunotherapies are protected by patent families and initial programs have reached the pre-clinical stage in major disease segments. For more information, visit

About GeoVax

GeoVax Labs, Inc., is a clinical-stage biotechnology company developing human vaccines against infectious diseases using its MVA-VLP vaccine platforms. The Company's HIV vaccine for the clade B epidemic in the Americas, Australia, Japan and Europe is advancing in human trials conducted by the HVTN. Preclinical programs are focused on preventive vaccines for Zika virus, hemorrhagic fever viruses (Ebola, Sudan, Marburg, and Lassa), and malaria, as well as therapeutic vaccines for HIV, chronic Hepatitis B infections and cancers. GeoVax's vaccine platform supports in vivo production of non-infectious VLPs from the cells of the very person receiving the vaccine, mimicking a natural infection and effectively stimulating both the humoral and cellular arms of the immune system to recognize, prevent, and control the target infection.

For more information, visit
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Publication:Biotech Business
Date:Feb 1, 2018

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