Findings published in Nature show the potential of a messenger RNA vaccine to protect against Zika virus

VANCOUVER, Feb. 2, 2017 /CNW/ - Acuitas Therapeutics Inc., a private biotechnology company developing state-of-the-art lipid nanoparticle (LNP) delivery technology for messenger RNA (mRNA), announced today publication of data demonstrating that single low dose immunization with a messenger RNA delivered in an Acuitas LNP carrier has the potential to protect against infection by Zika virus. In a paper published today in Nature, Acuitas' scientists and academic researchers including Drew Weissman, MD, PhD, a professor of Infectious Diseases in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania showed that single low-dose immunization with mRNA-LNP encoding the pre-membrane and envelope (prM-E) glycoproteins of a Zika virus strain responsible for the 2013 outbreak elicited potent, durable and protective neutralizing antibody responses in animals.

"I am delighted that our long-standing collaboration with Dr. Weissman continues to demonstrate the exciting clinical potential of mRNA therapeutics. The current data show that a single low dose administration of mRNA-LNP encoding a Zika protein completely protected animals from a subsequent challenge with the virus. We look forward to continuing our collaboration with Dr. Weissman to further advance this exciting new therapeutic modality," said Thomas Madden, Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer of Acuitas Therapeutics. 

About messenger RNA (mRNA)
Messenger RNA is a natural molecule that allows cells to produce proteins. Information that codes for a specific protein is contained on genes in the cell nucleus. This information is transcribed into a message (mRNA), which then migrates out of the nucleus and is translated into the specific protein. Synthetic mRNA can be introduced into a cell using Acuitas LNP carriers to direct the cell to produce a therapeutic protein. Such therapeutic proteins could replace a missing or defective protein, be an antibody to protect against infection, or provide a protective immune response (i.e. a vaccine).

About Acuitas Therapeutics
Acuitas Therapeutics is a private biotechnology company located in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada developing novel LNP carriers for mRNA and other nucleic acid therapeutics, including technology developed under limited license from Arbutus Biopharma Corporation.

SOURCE Acuitas Therapeutics Inc

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For further information: Contacts: Acuitas Therapeutics Inc., Dr. Thomas Madden, President & CEO, 604-880-6157

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