Rhode Island Patent of the Month – January 2024

Rhode Island-based biotechnology company, EpiVax, Inc., is working towards the development of computational immunology tools. The company’s technology screens for immunogenicity – the ability for an antigen to provoke an immune response in an individual. In support of this endeavor, the company has also developed regulatory T cell epitopes to support autoimmune therapeutics.

At the heart of this recently patented technology lies a method designed to induce regulatory T-cells, orchestrating a finely tuned symphony within the body’s immune system. The invention addresses a critical need in therapeutic approaches. Traditional methods often employed broad-based strategies, inadvertently weakening the entire immune system. EpiVax’s creation, however, offers a more targeted and less aggressive approach to immune tolerance induction.

EpiVax’s method involves administering a carefully calibrated T-cell epitope composition comprising isolated T-cell epitope polypeptides. The selective engagement and activation of pre-existing natural Treg through the use of Tregitopes and Tregitope-antigen fusions, is therapeutically valuable as a means of treatment for any disease or condition marked by the presence of an unwanted immune response. By dampening these unwanted immune responses, the body has a better chance at fighting conditions – like allergies.

What sets this invention apart is its versatility. The T-cell epitope composition can be tailored to include additional elements, such as antigens and allergens, broadening its applications across various medical scenarios. The method can suppress effector T-cell responses, cytokine secretions, helper T-cell responses, and even B-cell responses.

This innovation’s potential applications span a vast array of medical conditions, from autoimmune diseases like type 1 diabetes to transplant-related disorders, allergies, and even immune responses to infections. By harnessing the natural regulatory capabilities of T-cells, particularly pre-existing natural TReg, the invention opens avenues for tailored and effective treatments.

Are you developing new technology for an existing application? Did you know your development work could be eligible for the R&D Tax Credit and you can receive up to 14% back on your expenses? Even if your development isn’t successful your work may still qualify for R&D credits (i.e. you don’t need to have a patent to qualify). To find out more, please contact a Swanson Reed R&D Specialist today or check out our free online eligibility test.

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