Novel vaccine against a range of diseases caused by the Epstein-Barr virus

Start-up “EBViously“ announces first details of its EBV vaccine candidate

12-Apr-2023 - Germany

EBViously, a spin-off from Helmholtz Munich (HMGU), is led by world-leading experts in Epstein-Barr virus biology, genetics, and immunity and was founded to develop a safe and highly effective preventive vaccine against a range of diseases caused by Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), including infectious mononucleosis, various cancers, immune disorders, and multiple sclerosis, and various cancers. EBViously presented its approach and technology at the World Vaccine Congress 2023 (April 4-6, 2023) in Washington, DC, USA.

CDC/Dr. Paul M Feorino; DZIF/EBViously

Infection with the Epstein-Barr virus (green coloured virus particles in the background image) can cause infectious mononucleosis, immune disorders, multiple sclerosis and various cancers.

The spin-off is based on a project of HMGU supported by the German Center for Infection Research (DZIF). The project leading to the spin-off was co-funded by the DZIF to enable GMP manufacturing allowing the start of clinical trials in 2024.

The first vaccine candidate, named EBV-001, is based on non-infectious EBV-derived virus-like particles (VLPs). It is a highly immunogenic, multi-antigen vaccine that mimics the original viral pathogen and its complexity, delivering more than 50 viral antigens in their native conformation. EBViously has generated positive preclinical proof-of-concept data on the immunogenicity of the vaccine candidate. Moreover, the induction of a broad humoral and cellular immune response has already been demonstrated in animal models, reflecting the spectrum of antiviral immunity in humans.

VLPs resemble actual virus particles, but do not contain any viral genetic material. With the authentic structure of the virus, these empty shells signal an EBV infection to the immune system and elicit a highly specific immune response from both the humoral and the cellular parts of the immune system.

“Based on our very favorable preclinical proof-of-concept data regarding the immunogenicity of the vaccine, we are confident that EBV-001 can effectively prevent the development of infectious mononucleosis and the often associated chronic fatigue syndrome,” says Axel Polack, M.D., designated CEO of EBViously. “A GMP process has been established by a commercial CMO and our goal is to begin clinical trials in 2024.”

“As a primary indication, we are targeting the prevention of infectious mononucleosis, also known as kissing disease or glandular fever, and post-infectious fatigue/chronic fatigue (ME/CFS), a common, long-COVID-like protracted disease following infectious mononucleosis,” says Prof. Wolfgang Hammerschmidt, designated CSO of EBViously. “Other potential indications include the prevention of post-transplant lymphoproliferative disease (PTLD) and EBV-associated cancers. As infectious mononucleosis is a known risk factor for multiple sclerosis, there is great hope that our vaccine may also reduce the incidence of this chronic neurodegenerative autoimmune disease.”

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