Latest Opal Therapeutics News
Jun 27, 2013
OPAL Therapeutics Inc, Immunotherapy Start Up, Raises $US6m Series A to target HIV and Hepatitis C. 19 / 12 / 2005 Opal Therapeutics Inc., an immunotherapy development company targeting HIV and Hepatitis C, raises $6 million Series A financing. The company raised the funds from an international syndicate led by GBS Venture Partners, Melbourne, Australia. Other members of the syndicate are Alloy Ventures, Alta Partners, and Uniseed. OPAL is an immunotherapy development company focusing on novel therapies for HIV and Hepatitis C (HCV) based on a proprietary technology from the University of Melbourne. The company is incorporated in Delaware with preclinical operations in Australia and California. HIV and HCV are chronic viral infections inadequately treated by current therapies. Cellular immunity has an important role in the progression of both diseases, however, current treatments have generally failed to induce strong cellular immune responses. OPAL has developed a unique approach to generate high levels of cellular immune responses for the treatment of chronic infection. The Series A funding will be used initially to extend the company's intellectual property, hire staff, and manufacture the preclinical materials. It will support preclinical safety and efficacy studies and phase I human clinical trials in HIV. The founding scientist, Dr Stephen Kent, at the University of Melbourne, is a thought leader in HIV immunology. Dr Kent said his team have developed the novel treatment with outstanding effectiveness in generating strong cellular responses in extensive in vivo laboratory studies in animal models. "This funding will be used initially to refine the OPAL technology through final preclinical development and into clinical trials in humans. " Kent said. "This is a very exciting day for us. OPAL will develop a technology with the potential to provide a new treatment for a very large population of people with HIV and HCV. " Kent said. "In HIV the OPAL technology is intended to complement existing therapies and allow patients to live longer with fewer side effects and generate less drug resistance. In HCV the OPAL technology is intended to complement existing therapies and has the potential to provide an effective treatment for the large group of patients who do not respond to current therapies. " OPAL uses short peptides from the target virus to generate a strong immune response so patients can improve control of the infection. The peptides are mixed ex vivo (outside the body) with blood where they bind to immune cells and are then distributed to all parts of the body to stimulate the immune response. Kent said "It has long been known cellular immune responses have the potential to change the course of an infection. OPAL's new products have the potential to achieve what other therapies generally fail to do - and that is to generate significant cellular immunity and control viremia. "