Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Selects Pepscan Systems's CLIPS(TM) Technology For HIV Booster Vaccine Development

LELYSTAD, The Netherlands, October 31 /PRNewswire/ -- Pepscan Systems today announced that it will enhance its research in HIV, to develop a new and effective HIV booster vaccine. The company will do this as a member of one of 11 consortia that were selected by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for the discovery of a new and effective HIV vaccine. The Foundation supports the entire project with a 287 million $ grant in five years. Pepscan Systems will work together with renowned experts in the field of HIV, in a consortium that will receive a 25.3 million $ grant and is being led by Robin Weiss of University College London.

The consortium will screen antibodies from humans and animals that seem naturally active against HIV, and then work backwards to see which regions they target and design new vaccine candidates. This new approach has to circumvent the huge difficulties experienced in HIV-vaccine development so far. The virus constantly changes its appearance, it attacks and exhausts the natural defence system and is able to protect itself against attacks by antibodies. Therefore, in most HIV infected individuals strong and cross-neutralizing antibodies are rarely induced, yet those who possess such antibodies tend not to develop AIDS.

"This is a challenge for our CLIPS (tm) technology", says dr. Hans Langedijk, Senior Researcher of Pepscan. "Once an antigen has been identified that is able to induce such an effective defence against the virus, we can build a variety of water-soluble and easy-to-produce mimics of that specific antigen. Such mimics may induce a similar immune response as the original and can be developed into a booster vaccine. Furthermore it is an honor that the Gates Foundation selected the Pepscan approach in this highly competitive field, and rewarded our application with a 1.1 milliion $ grant. Also, this project is a great opportunity to work with renowned experts in the field of HIV. This will certainly enhance our knowledge and expertise in HIV and support our research and technology."

About Pepscan

Pepscan Systems BV is a product-oriented drug discovery and development company that focuses on the development of innovative immuno-therapeutics, using its proprietary CLIPS(TM) technology.

CLIPS(TM) compounds provide excellent functional mimics of the native structure of complex protein structures, making them highly suitable for the development of effective therapeutics such as synthetic vaccines.

About the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

The BMGF believes in the equality of life and fights disease and poverty worldwide. One of its goals is the universal prevention and treatment of AIDS, which is a major burden especially in the developing countries. Right now, nearly 40 million people are living with HIV and each year more than 4 million people are being infected.

Pepscan Systems BV

CONTACT: For further information: Joost van Bree, Ph.D., CEO, Tel+31-(0)-320-237200, Email:, Website:

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