Advanced Gene & Cell Technologies (AGCT), a resident of Skolkovo, received the first tranche of financing from RBV Capital, a venture capital fund established with the participation of RVC and R-Pharm Group. The total investments will amount to 44 million rubles. The implementation of this project, for the first time in Russia, will pave the way for genome editing to enter clinical practice, allowing treatment of the most severe and socially significant diseases.
AGCT, a Russian biotech company, is developing a new HIV treatment method based on editing the human DNA. The goal of the project is to cure HIV-positive patients with lymphomas who have indications for bone marrow transplantation. The method is based on changing the CCR5 co-receptor gene (responsible for penetration of the virus into the host cell) in the patient’s own bone marrow cells. After their removal from the bone marrow and ex vivo editing (removal of CCR5 co-receptor), the cells are transplanted back to the patient, where they differentiate into the cells of immune system and become immune to the most common subtypes of HIV.
AGCT plans to use investments for preparation of a preclinical data package for pilot Phase 1/2 clinical trials.
If successful, this method will allow not only to eliminate the need for HIV patients with tumors in a lifelong antiretroviral therapy, but could be also used to treat non-oncological HIV patients, who are resistant to antiretroviral therapy, and “immunological non-responders,” i.e. HIV patients who, despite an antiretroviral therapy, do not achieve the recovery in the number of immune cells.