SOURCE: ImmuneRegen BioSciences, Inc.

August 18, 2008 06:30 ET

ASU's Biodesign Institute and ImmuneRegen Collaborate to Investigate Possible Enhancement of Vaccine Against Norwalk Viruses

Study Targets the Leading Cause of Gastrointestinal Illness Throughout the World

SCOTTSDALE, AZ--(Marketwire - August 18, 2008) - ImmuneRegen® BioSciences, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of IR BioSciences Holdings, Inc. (OTCBB: IRBS), today announced a collaborative relationship with the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University (ASU), Tempe, Ariz., to evaluate the effectiveness of ImmuneRegen's Viprovex® in boosting the immune response when used as an adjuvant in conjunction with unique plant-derived vaccines against noroviruses (also called Norwalk-like viruses). These viruses are the leading cause of gastrointestinal illness throughout the world, and are often at the root of outbreaks in closed living communities such as nursing homes, cruise ships or prisons. Demonstrating successful adjuvant activity could increase the effectiveness of immunizations, thereby reducing cost per dose and increasing vaccine availability.

The study, part of a material transfer agreement with the Biodesign Institute's Center for Infectious Diseases and Vaccinology (CIDV); will be led by Charles Arntzen, Ph.D., ASU Regents' Professor and the Florence Ely Nelson Chair in Plant Biology, who is recognized worldwide for his pioneering work in plant-derived vaccines for human disease prevention. Dr. Arntzen's research team has engineered tobacco plants to produce high levels of Norwalk-virus capsid protein (NVCP), which is the antigen used to elicit an immune response during vaccination. Viprovex will be administered in conjunction with this purified antigen to assess whether Viprovex further enhances the immune response in mice. Viprovex has demonstrated promise as an adjuvant in studies with other antigens, including avian influenza virus antigens.

"Prevention of norovirus infection will require a robust immune response and our search for a good adjuvant has led us to ImmuneRegen's material," said Arntzen. "We welcome this interaction with their scientists and hope to be able to determine if Viprovex is well matched with our antigen in the next six months."

Plant-derived vaccines serve as an efficient and cost-effective alternative to producing large amounts of protein for recombinant vaccines. They are also typically safer to administer and prepare. Several plant-derived vaccines, representing a variety of antigens, have been shown to stimulate the immune system: the humoral response (the production of antibodies in the bloodstream as part of acquired immunity to prevent the spread of infection), the mucosal response (the production of antibodies to help neutralize foreign particles that enter the body through mucous membranes), as well as the cellular response (the activation of immune cells that fight infection). This ability to generate both antibody and cellular types of immune responses proves that plants can serve as both effective and inexpensive vehicles for production of recombinant vaccine antigen for use on a global scale.

"The ability of Viprovex's active ingredient, Sar9, Met (O2)11-Substance P, to generate not only antibody-mediated responses but also support cellular responses via activation of specific immune cells, gives us strong reason to expect adjuvant activity when coupled with vaccines such as those being developed by the Biodesign Institute," said Hal Siegel, Ph.D., of ImmuneRegen BioSciences. "With our compound able to stimulate the immune system via both antibody and cellular immune responses to co-administered protein and DNA immunogens, we optimistically anticipate a productive collaboration with Dr. Arntzen's team."

About The Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University

The Biodesign Institute at ASU integrates diverse fields of science to cure and prevent disease, overcome the limitations of injury, renew the environment and improve national security. By fusing research in biology, engineering, medicine, physics, information technology and cognitive science, the institute accelerates discoveries into uses that can be adopted rapidly by the private sector. For more information, visit www.biodesign.asu.edu.

About ImmuneRegen BioSciences, Inc.

ImmuneRegen BioSciences, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of IR BioSciences Holdings, Inc., (OTCBB: IRBS) is a development-stage biotechnology company focused on the research, development and licensing of Homspera® and its derivatives. Homspera is an adult stem cell active compound that in study results has been shown to regenerate and strengthen the immune system and enhance wound healing. Viprovex®, a derivative of Homspera, is being developed for potential use against infectious diseases as a stand-alone or combination therapy and as a vaccine adjuvant. To advance its mission, the Scottsdale, Arizona based company has forged numerous study partnerships with industry and academic leaders, including Celgene Cellular Therapeutics, HemoGenix, Lovelace Respiratory Research Institute and Virion Systems. For more information, please visit www.immuneregen.com.

Statements about ImmuneRegen's future expectations, including statements about the potential use and scientific results for ImmuneRegen's drug candidates, science and technology, and all other statements in this press release other than historical facts, are "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, and as that term is defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. ImmuneRegen intends that such forward-looking statements be subject to the safe harbors created thereby. These future events may not occur as and when expected, if at all, and, together with ImmuneRegen's business, are subject to various risks and uncertainties. ImmuneRegen's actual results could differ materially from expected results as a result of a number of factors, including the uncertainties inherent in research and development collaborations, pre-clinical and clinical trials and product development programs (including, but not limited to the fact that future results or research and development efforts may prove less encouraging than current results or cause side effects not observed in current pre-clinical trials), the evaluation of potential opportunities, the level of corporate expenditures and monies available for further studies, capital market conditions, and others set forth in ImmuneRegen's periodic report on Form 10-Q for the three months ended June 30, 2008 and on Form 10-KSB for the year ended December 31, 2007 as filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. There are no guarantees that any of ImmuneRegen's proposed products will prove to be commercially successful. ImmuneRegen undertakes no duty to update forward-looking statements.

Contact Information

  • CONTACT:
    Amendola Communications for ImmuneRegen
    Jan Shulman
    480-664-8412 ext. 12
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