Abivax’s HIV cure candidate, ABX464, caused a significant drop in the viral reservoir over an extended period during a Phase IIa study.

French Biotech, Abivax, targets the immune system to cure viral diseases. The company has announced initial results from the first cohort of patients in its most recent Phase IIa trial testing its potential HIV cure, ABX464. Initial results support the drug’s ability to significantly reduce the HIV reservoir over a 28-day period. The next cohort of patients has commenced dosing for a 3-month study, with results expected in early 2018.

Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) causes AIDS, a devastating disease of the immune system. The virus infects immune cells, impairs their function and puts the individual at risk of nasty infections and cancers. ABX464 combats this using a new mechanism to inhibit HIV replication, that it is hoped will not lead to resistance.

Nine out of eleven patients in first study cohort completed the study, and eight of these showed decreased viral load between days 0 and 28. Two patients did not complete the study due to adverse effects, but these were quickly resolved.

The mechanism of action of ABX464.

Abivax is happy with the results it has seen so far, but hopes for more data from the second cohort of patients to further support ABX464’s potential: “In this first cohort, the rectal biopsies did not yield enough HIV DNA to make an assessment of the viral reservoir. For the ongoing second cohort, we have made changes to the procedures to ensure that enough high quality viral DNA is available…” Dr Jean-Marc Steens, Chief Medical Officer of Abivax explained.

Abivax’s news is one of a number exciting happenings in the HIV field this week, with Sanofi’s ‘super-antibody’ and the EU approval of Janssen’s Symtuza already announced.

Image – nito / shutterstock.com; Abivax


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  • So…is this simply reducing the viral load (as most other current HIV drugs do), or does it *CURE* the disease, as indicated in the dramatic headline? Be straight with us, please…

    • As the CEO explains, it is a functional HIV cure though obviously still under development — https://labiotech.eu/abivax-interview-antiviral-hiv-hepatitis/

    • Adam Black

      No , its not the Viral Load.

      “Viral Load” refers to Dna of Blood borne virus.

      This still leaves cell-to-cell transmission line active,

      and latent infected cells in longlived memory T cells,

      ( and the brain, gut lining and numerous Immune cells)

      some of these other latent cells cant produce active working virus, but can still infect others,

      or do physical damage by expressing toxic viral proteins .

      The headline should read :

      “Study confirms Abivax HIV treatment reduces latent infection, towards a cure”

      There is more than one kind of cure.

      A practical Cure is basically shrugging our shoulders and managing one as good enough as the body stopping most active viral infections.

      A sterilizing Cure may be impossible without risking peoples lives or very far outside of our technology.

      Theoretically Ending all latent infected cells will create a sterilizing cure.

      A practical cure will come with effective endogenous Broadly neutralizing antibodies, Killing off most latent infection, and creating a large population of Cells Immune to new infection.

  • Richard Jefferys

    The Abivax news release states that the HIV DNA reduction was “191 copies / million CD4+ T cells to 116 copies / million CD4 + T cells.” That is not an “HIV Cure” as your headline erroneously claims and and nor is it getting rid of the virus – it is reducing HIV DNA levels by a slight amount. There is no evidence that a reduction of this magnitude would be clinically meaningful. Examples of temporary remission such as the Boston patients suggest that a reduction of >6 logs would be required to achieve a lifelong cure in the majority of people, and this reduction–if it is real and not just assay variability noise–is less than 1 log.

    Furthermore, from the perspective of tolerability, it is not encouraging that two out of eleven people were unable to take the drug for 28 days.

  • Labiotech.eu

    Thanks Adam! Noted.

  • billy joy

    They will never cure hiv