SAN FRANCISCO, CA--(Marketwired - March 02, 2017) - Several KLH-based vaccines are in trials for indications as varied as breast cancer and lupus, and clinical success could propel Stellar Biotechnologies, which is the only provider of KLH that has its own aquaculture facilities, says Jason McCarthy, an equity research analyst with Maxim Securities.
Included in this interview is: Stellar Biotechnologies Inc. (NASDAQ: SBOT)
TLSR: Would you talk about a company you follow that has a novel niche in vaccine research and production?
JM: I follow Stellar Biotechnologies Inc., which produces keyhole limpet hemocyanin (KLH). This carrier protein is being evaluated as an immune modulating agent in a number of vaccine trials.
TLSR: Would you explain what is special about KLH?
JM: If you want to make a vaccine, it's very difficult. You often can't just vaccinate with a small molecule by itself, even with an adjuvant it's difficult. Many times that antigen may need to be linked to carrier protein for presentation to the immune system to generate the appropriate immune response, and that's what KLH does.
KLH is special in that it's a tremendously big protein. It has a lot of amine groups on it so you can hook a lot of things up to it. And the KLH itself is very immunogenic. So KLH can actually stimulate its own immune response and actually help generate antigen-specific responses almost by default just by being the carrier protein. The KLH itself will tend to play a role in generating immune responses to your antigen.
When you're developing a vaccine for any indication, you can have a dendritic cell vaccine, you can have a DNA-based vaccine, you can have a KLH-based vaccine or a peptide vaccine, and each one has its own advantages, disadvantages and attributes that you may or may not want as part of the immune response you are targeting. KLH seems to be geared toward generating antibody responses versus T-cell responses. So when you're trying to target something like lupus and you're trying to take out all of the interferon cytokines that are floating around and driving unwanted hyperinflammation, neutralizing antibodies might be an ideal approach. And an ideal approach for generating lots and lots of neutralizing antibodies is to use a KLH-based vaccine.
TLSR: How is Stellar producing KLH, and how is that different from others?
JM: What is unique from a Stellar perspective is that the company has on-land aquaculture. It is producing a very consistent KLH product from the keyhole limpet animals, whereas others rely on harvesting those animals from the ocean. There are only a few spots in the world off the coast of California where you could do that. And there's a lot of variability in the KLH product by harvesting off the ocean floor whereas Stellar does it in a very consistent, very reproducible process.
Part of the challenge with KLH is that it's such a big protein that you can't make a recombinant KLH, which is why you need the sophisticated aquaculture facility that only Stellar has to generate sufficient quantities to make a reproducible ingredient that could be used for vaccines.
Continue reading this interview: Stellar Biotechnologies (NASDAQ: SBOT) Could Rise with KLH Vaccine Trial Success
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Jason McCarthy: I, or members of my immediate household or family, own shares of the following companies mentioned in this article: None. I, or members of my immediate household or family, are paid by the following companies mentioned in this article: None. My company has a financial relationship with the following companies mentioned in this interview: Stellar Biotechnologies and Neovacs. I determined which companies would be included in this article based on my research and understanding of the sector. I had the opportunity to review the interview for accuracy as of the date of the interview and am responsible for the content of the interview.
Please see the end of the interview for the complete disclosure: Stellar Biotechnologies (NASDAQ: SBOT) Could Rise with KLH Vaccine Trial Success