• Lead asset out-licensed to Provention Bio, Inc. for the development of a vaccine preventing Type 1 Diabetes by targeting coxsackievirus B infections

Tampere, Finland – Vactech Oy (Vactech), a biotechnology company focused on development of vaccines against Type 1 Diabetes and other immune-mediated diseases, today announced it has entered into a strategic partnership with Provention Bio, Inc. in a US-based corporation financed by MDB Capital Group LLC, Johnson & Johnson Innovation – JJDC, Inc. (JJDC) and the JDRF T1D Fund, LLC. (JDRF).

The strategic partnership includes the licensing of Vactech’s enterovirus platform, which Provention is developing to reduce the onset of Type 1 Diabetes (T1D) by vaccinating at-risk populations against coxsackievirus B (CVB) infection. Research indicates that CVB infection could be responsible for more than half of T1D cases worldwide. Provention anticipates advancing the enterovirus platform toward an anticipated first-in-human proof-of-mechanism and proof-of-concept program. Terms of the licensing agreement between Vactech and Provention have not been disclosed.

Raimo Harju, CEO of Vactech Oy, commented, “The licensing agreement with Provention and the initiation of its vaccine development program targeting Type 1 Diabetes is a watershed moment for Vactech as it validates our exhaustive research into the link between coxsackievirus B and Type 1 Diabetes, while expanding our enterovirus platform into a substantial global development and commercialization opportunity. We look forward to working closely with Provention as it seeks to change the paradigm of Type 1 Diabetes and initiates other clinical development programs targeting the interception and prevention of immune-mediated disease.”

Ashleigh Palmer, co-founder and CEO of Provention Bio, stated, “We are extremely excited to be launching our lead program in Type 1 Diabetes and are grateful to Vactech Oy for allowing us the opportunity to license and develop its proprietary enterovirus vaccine platform. The compelling, ground-breaking research that Vactech has conducted to date suggests that vaccination against coxsackie virus B infection could prevent or delay the onset of more than 50% of worldwide Type 1 Diabetes cases. Imagine the positive impact that this would have on the morbidity, mortality, patient suffering, and escalating costs of such a disease. With the help of Vactech, Provention is aiming to make this vision a reality.”

Type 1 Diabetes & Coxsackie Virus B Infection

Type 1 Diabetes (T1D) is a life-impacting chronic disease caused by immune destruction of the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. Today, there is no cure. The only means for managing this devastating disease is life-long blood glucose monitoring and insulin injections.

However, global longitudinal studies of more than 200,000 children screened and more than 17,000 followed over two decades in Finland by Vactech’s scientific founders and their collaborators have identified CVB infection as a likely trigger for T1D onset. From this research, it was discovered that diabetes process often starts after CVB infection. Insulin-producing cells in the pancreas express specialized receptors used for cellular infection by CVB. As a result, an exacerbated immune reaction against the virus may be involved in triggering the autoimmunity targeting the pancreas and gut, which appears to precede the onset of T1D.

Importantly, CVB-associated risk of T1D was significantly reduced in children whose mothers have had a CVB infection, thereby suggesting a transfer of protective CVB antibodies to their offspring via placenta and breast milk. This observation suggests the potential benefit of CVB vaccination for children.

Heikki Hyöty, MD, Ph.D., scientific co-founder and the chairman of the Board of Vactech, said, “Our coxsackievirus B vaccine, now licensed to Provention, offers the potential to prevent more than 50% of Type 1 Diabetes cases. In addition, the vaccine could prevent a number of acute coxsackievirus B infections, complications from which annually cause a significant medical and economic burden to society. Over the past two decades, our Finnish and international research collaborators have played a critical founding role in the conception of our lead program, and we are deeply grateful for their vision and dedicated work over many years in this medically important field.”

About Vactech Oy

Vactech develops and licenses vaccines and novel technologies for vaccines and diagnostics with a pipeline of early stage product candidates focused on Type 1 Diabetes, Celiac Disease, Asthma & Allergy and diagnostics. Vactech’s flagship project is a patented enterovirus based preventive Type 1 Diabetes vaccine, similar to the widely used enterovirus vaccine against polio. The vaccine is a traditional inactivated vaccine and it has been proved to be safe and effective in mice. In addition, Vactech’s IMAVAC™ product line uses Virus Like Particle (VLP) technology which is essential for other vaccines, immunomodulators and diagnostic applications. Vactech is a privately owned company. We have a track record of collaboration with big pharma on the level of Good Laboratory Practice (GLP). We consider ourselves as an attractive investment target for those that believe in and want to grow with our mission.

For additional information on Vactech Oy, please, visit www.vactech.fi or contact:

Raimo Harju, CEO

About Provention Bio, Inc.

Provention Bio, Inc. is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company dedicated to sourcing, developing and commercializing novel therapeutics and cutting-edge solutions to intercept and prevent immune-mediated disease. Our “predict and prevent” therapeutic model is focused on developing drugs that intervene before the targeted disease begins, re-appears or progresses. This innovative approach offers the potential to reduce the high morbidity, mortality, patient suffering, and escalating costs of chronic autoimmune and inflammatory diseases, such as Type 1 Diabetes, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and emerging viruses. For more information on Provention Bio, Inc. please visit www.proventionbio.com.

Related Press Releases: