Helicobacter Pylori: 50% Of The World’s Population Is Infected
If a vaccine against Helicobacter pylori were available, it would benefit millions of patients, reduce the development of antibiotic resistance and lower healthcare costs. Here is why:
- The Helicobacter pylori infection is the most common bacterial infectious disease in humans: half of the global population is infected.
- The colonization of Helicobacter pylori in the human stomach causes gastritis, gastric ulcers and gastric cancer. 20% of the infected individuals develop gastric ulcers, and 1% develop gastric cancer.
- Helicobacter pylori is the primary cause of gastric cancer. Therefore, the WHO classified Helicobacter pylori as a class I carcinogen.
- Each year, 500,000 people develop gastric carcinoma worldwide, including over 150,000 in Europe and approximately 20,000 in Germany.
- Helicobacter pylori can be treated with antibiotics. The standard therapy consists of two antibiotics and a proton pump inhibitor. However, this therapy has significant side-effects for some patients and leads to a steep increase in resistant pathogens. Because first-, second- and third-line therapies often fail, 10% of all patients can no longer be treated today.
IMX101: The first immune evasion vaccine against Helicobacter pylori
In the past, researchers tried to develop vaccines against Helicobacter pylori. Unfortunately, no vaccine is available on the market, and only a few programs are in clinical development.
IMX101 is the first vaccine to use the knowledge about the immune evasion mechanisms against Helicobacter pylori. It specifically targets an immune evasion factor that inhibits the host’s immune response. With this novel approach to fighting Helicobacter pylori, we at ImevaX will be first in class in the market.
IMX101 consists of two antigens and a novel mucosal adjuvant
Using this novel mode-of-action, we designed a vaccine that consists of three components: two antigens and a mucosal adjuvant. Each of these components fulfills a crucial role:
- The first antigen is an immune evasion factor. The immunization elicits a strong B cell response that generates neutralizing antibodies. These antibodies disable Helicobacter pylori’s central immune evasion mechanism.
- The second antigen is an outer membrane protein. The immunization elicits a strong T cell response that enables a broad attack on Helicobacter pylori.
- The third component is a fusion protein that functions as a mucosal adjuvant. The immunization elicits an immune response and drives it to the site of the infection: the stomach.
In our vaccine IMX101, all three factors work in concert: by driving the immune response to the site of the infection, Helicobacter pylori’s immune evasion mechanism is disabled and a strong attack is launched.
In preclinical studies, our vaccine IMX101 delivered the proof of concept for its efficacy: Helicobacter pylori was eradicated in 80% of the animals.
Since the beginning of 2017, IMX101 is being evaluated as a therapeutic vaccine in a clinical phase I study.