GigaGen Announces $1.5M NIH Grant Award for Development of Recombinant Intravenous Immunoglobulin

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Grant supports development of “hyperimmunes” for patients with Primary Immune Deficiency

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Recombinant IVIG hyperimmunes hold great potential for primary immune deficiency patients and can be used to combat emerging pathogens such as Zika

GigaGen Inc., the leading innovator in massively high-throughput immune repertoire single-cell sequencing and protein expression, today announced that it has been awarded a $1.5 million Phase II grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The Phase II grant was awarded through the NIH Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program in from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). The grant supports development of natural repertoire recombinant intravenous immunoglobulin (rIVIG) “hyperimmunes” against common pathogens for patients with primary immune deficiency (PID).

PID is a diverse family of congenital disorders, including common variable immune deficiency (CVID) and X-linked agammaglobulinemia (XLA), which are characterized by the inability of the body to properly make antibodies. Consequently, patients with PID are susceptible to a wide range of common infections that healthy individuals can fight off easily or can prevent through vaccination.

PID is currently treated with regular doses of intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG), a drug created by pooling antibodies from the plasma of thousands of donors. Even so, 40% of patients suffer recurrent pneumonia and 36% die from lung failure due to chronic lung disease. Most PID patients with recurrent infections receive prophylactic antibiotics to address chronic infection.

Hyperimmunes are a plasma-derived subset of IVIG that are enriched for activity against a particular pathogen. Unfortunately, the nine FDA-approved hyperimmunes on the market do not address the pathogens that are most responsible for morbidity and mortality in PID patients. The NIH grant will support the application of GigaGen’s technology to the development of recombinant hyperimmunes against bacterial and viral pathogens that commonly affect PID patients.

“We are pleased that the NIH has recognized the power of our drug discovery technology to create new recombinant drugs that previously have only been available by harvesting plasma from humans,” said Dave Johnson, Ph.D., CEO of GigaGen. “Recombinant IVIG hyperimmunes hold great potential for improving the quality of life for not only PID patients, but also other types of immunocompromised patients such as transplant recipients, and ultimately can be used to combat emerging pathogens such as Zika.”

About GigaGen
GigaGen is a biopharmaceutical company developing novel antibody and T cell therapies derived from immune repertoires. GigaGen’s technology platform captures the genetic make-up of the entire human immune repertoire, capturing and genetically analyzing B and T cells at a rate of millions per hour, while simultaneously identifying their antigen and protein binders. Therapies derived from natural immune repertoires mimic the body's natural immune system - they can be more effective, can have fewer side effects, and can have faster development timelines than those developed from traditional methods. GigaGen has drug discovery projects with several pharmaceutical companies in addition to its own pipeline for development of the first recombinant intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) and immuno-oncology therapies. For more information visit http://www.gigagen.com.

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Jennifer Keller
GigaGen, Inc.
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