Compass Biotechnologies, Inc. Seeking Drugs to Fight and Prevent HCV Infection


Making Drugs to Combat Major Human Diseases

EDMONTON, Sept. 26, 2011 /PRNewswire/ - Compass (COBI:OB) is pleased to announce new research findings that it believes will alter the course of HCV vaccine development and other vaccines in general. Vaccine products continue to be the success story for pharmaceutical companies, with the world market for preventative vaccines in 2010 being $ 28 billion as compared to $26 billion in 2009, $24 billion in 2008 and $18.5 billion in 2007. 

"The Hepatitis C Vaccine market potential for Compass is approximately US$2 billion, but with the development of a second anti HCV type product based on new scientific findings that augments to make a HCV vaccine even more potent, then this means that sales could jump to much higher levels. We would be the market leaders in this area "commented Garth Likes CEO.

New studies have contributed to the understanding of a previously unknown mechanism of antibody-mediated Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) neutralization and interference. It was found that while the human immune system produces neutralizing antibodies against HCV, a second interfering antibody is also created which stops the neutralizing antibodies from being totally effective or interacting and  killing the HCV.

The findings suggest that, if this interfering mechanism operates in humans during HCV infection, and that neutralizing antibodies can be impeded by a second interfering antibody binding; then this may account for the persistence of HCV infection even in the presence of an abundance of neutralizing antibodies.

Dr. Joseph Sinkule, the President and COO of Compass stated "we are now working on an approach using peptide-blocking or single chain antibodies against HCV epitope-II to remove the restraints imposed by interfering antibodies to epitope-II. We believe this epitope blocking approach, combined with VLP immunization and the generation of neutralizing antibodies to epitope-I could result in cross-genotype neutralization - the holy grail of HCV vaccine development."

This new combination of vaccine plus use of developing anti-interference molecules will allow Compass to develop drugs which could provide a practical and targeted approach to the development of a more potent and broadly reactive hepatitis C therapeutic vaccine.

Further Technical Background:

The Company previously announced an exclusive worldwide license from the NIH regarding technology to make artificial virus-like particles (VLPs) made from expression of virus proteins or capsids, E1 and E2, which are structural proteins of the HCV virus. Thus Compass is making a VLP vaccine that will allow the body to make antibodies against the structural Hepatitis C proteins E1 and E2.

The Company's HCV VLPS have been used by numerous researchers as a model system to discover how the HCV virus infects the human liver cells and identifying potential mechanisms that might be used to prevent infection of the human cell by the virus. In the course of experimentation to identify antibodies that might neutralize or block HCV virus entry, investigators have identified neutralizing epitopes (sites) on the E2 protein that are directly implicated by several laboratories in virus neutralization and inhibition of infection.

The inventor of Compass' technology developed an HCV-LP-based model system for a systematic functional analysis of antiviral antibodies from patients with acute or chronic hepatitis C infection. They demonstrated that cellular HCV binding was specifically inhibited by antiviral antibodies isolated from serum of patients with acute or chronic hepatitis C infection in a dose-dependent manner. In other laboratories at the NIH, researchers used purified human immune globulins from HCV-positive patients, and similarly identified two antibody epitopes in the E2 protein of the HCV virus. It was shown that epitope-I was implicated in HCV neutralization whereas the binding of a non-neutralizing antibody to epitope-II disrupted virus neutralization mediated by antibody binding at epitope-I.

ABOUT COMPASS BIOTECHNOLOGIES INC.   -Please visit our website for updated news and reports

Compass Biotechnologies, Inc. (COBI:OB) is a publically-traded specialty drug company with a mission to development and commercialization of drugs, peptides, and proteins to combat major human diseases. Compass Biotechnologies, Inc. (Compass) is working on two therapeutic platforms - recombinant biosimilars and biobetters, and combating viral hepatitis infection by developing drugs to treat existing disease and vaccines to prevent disease. Under an exclusive worldwide license from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Company has opportunities to develop HCV VLP vaccine products using patented technology to manufacture virus-like particles (VLPs).

Compass has previously announced an agreement with PanGen Biotech of Seoul, South Korea to provide Compass with a wide array of recombinant protein biosimilars manufactured in "CHO" cells, and a relationship with Arecor Ltd. of Cambridge, England to develop a biobetter, heat-stable formulation of the commercial hepatitis B vaccine. The Company is also pursuing a near-term revenue generation strategy by commercializing Compass' own brand of generic ribavirin (400 mg and 600 mg tablets) through collaboration with Aurobindo Pharmaceuticals and pegylated alpha interferon, the mainstays of anti-viral drug therapy used to treat hepatitis B and hepatitis C infections. The annual hepatitis market for the two drugs is estimated at over US$4 Billion.

Forward Looking Statements

This news release contains "forward-looking statements", as that term is defined in Section 27A of the United States Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.  Statements in this current report which are not purely historical are forward-looking statements and include any statements regarding beliefs, plans, expectations or intentions regarding the future. Actual results could differ from those projected in any forward-looking statements due to numerous factors.  Such factors include, among others, the inherent uncertainty of financial estimates and projections, the competitive and regulatory environments, stock market conditions, unforeseen technical difficulties and our ongoing ability to operate a business and obtain financing.  These forward-looking statements are made as of the date of this news release, and we assume no obligation to update the forward-looking statements, or to update the reasons why actual results could differ from those projected in the forward-looking statements.  Although we believe that our beliefs, plans, expectations and intentions contained in this current report are reasonable, there can be no assurance that such beliefs, plans, expectations or intentions will prove to be accurate.  Investors should consult all of the information set forth herein and should also refer to the risk factors disclosure outlined in our quarterly reports on Form 10-Q and our other periodic reports filed from time-to-time with the Securities and Exchange Commission pursuant to the Securities Exchange Act.

SOURCE Compass Biotechnologies Inc.