Teams led by Prof. Joachim Hauber at the Heinrich Pette Institute (HPI) – Leibniz Institute for Experimental Virology and Prof. Frank Buchholz* at the Technische Universität Dresden have developed a completely new approach to the therapy of HIV-1 infection. With the help of the designer recombinase Brec1 – which acts like a pair of ‘molecular scissors’ – they aim to remove the virus from infected cells rather than just keeping it in check, as with current forms of treatment.
Thanks to the scientists’ exceptional and long-standing commitment, together with public and private funding for the project, it has been possible to retain and further develop this innovative concept in Germany. Initial clinical trials will be conducted at the Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf (UKE). Funding for the translation and clinical development of the approach were provided by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) following a joint application by the UKE and the HPI. Furthermore, the HPI is being financially supported during the project by the Hamburg Authority for Science, Research and Gender Equality, and the ForTra gGmbH für Forschungstransfer of the Else Kröner-Fresenius Foundation. A further key project partner is the German biotech company Miltenyi Biotec, who are contributing important materials and processes.
Ascenion has accompanied the scientists for years through all the ups and downs, secured the IP, supported the nego-tiation of agreements and mediated constructively between the partners throughout. Both Ascenion and the Inno-vationsstarter Fonds Hamburg hold equity in PROVIREX.
*previously at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics