Tampere-based FIT Biotech was chosen to be part of the international CHAIT initiative, which focuses on treating HIV infection. FIT’s HIV immunotherapy, which is still under development, is part of a new treatment strategy being developed within the project.
The objective of the treatment, which combines medication and immunisation, is to control or slow the progression of the disease in people infected with HIV and to prevent the disease from progressing to the AIDS stage, even to the extent where medication is no longer required. FIT Biotech’s vaccine triggers an immune response that inhibits the virus remaining in the blood after treatment with HIV drugs. The goal is to achieve a treatment response in which the patient’s own immune system, boosted by the vaccine, stops latent HIV in the patient’s system from reproducing. Thus the virus does not necessarily need to be completely eradicated from the patient’s system, since it will not progress to the AIDS stage, and the patients are no longer contagious.
— The positive results of the clinical trial of the vaccine have increased the momentum of our co-operation projects. As one of the leading developers in the field, we are in continuous discussions with major HIV/AIDS drug companies. Our inclusion in the CHAIT initiative is concrete proof of the possibilities our new technology offers,” says FIT Biotech’s President and CEO, Kalevi Reijonen.
The initiative was launched in July 2012 and, besides FIT, its supporters include, Boehringer Ingelheim, GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals, Sanofi-Pasteur, ViiV Healthcare, the Swiss Vaccine Research Institute and the Vaccine Institute in France.
The HIV vaccine under development by FIT Biotech, which was founded in 1995, has, for the first time anywhere in the world, succeeded in reducing the viral load in the blood of HIV-infected individuals. The company employs 22 people.