Error-Free Genome Editing
PROVIREX Genome Editing Therapies GmbH is a privately-held biotech company developing first-in-class advanced therapy medicinal products (ATMPs). PROVIREX’s technology is based on error-free genome editing for eradication of life-threatening persistent virus infection.
PROVIREX employs site-specific recombinase-based genome surgery technology to precisely excise chromosomally integrated viral genomes (proviruses). The major advantage of site-specific recombinases is that they function independently of host DNA repair. Therefore, in contrast to other gene editing technologies, they act with nucleotide precision producing completely error-free recombinants.
The engineered recombinase Brec1 excises HIV-1 proviruses with high specificity from the genome of infected host cells. Brec1 activity has unparalleled and lasting antiviral effects in vitro and in vivo. Consequently, plasma viral load declines to levels below the detection limits of the most sensitive assay systems. No viral rebound has been observed.
The following illustration schematically depicts the therapeutic mechanism of Brec1.
On the road
PROVIREX has been nominated for the Hamburg 2040 Award!
With this award, the Handelskammer Hamburg recognises companies, institutions or individuals who are actively shaping the future of Hamburg, demonstrating innovative strength and promoting the location in the sense of the Hamburg 2040 location strategy developed by the Chamber of Commerce.
Vote for us!
Original press release with voting link (only in german)
Milestone in the fight against the trigger of a form of leukaemia in cooperation of TU Dresden with PROVIREX and the and the Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nuremberg (FAU)
It triggers aggressive forms of leukaemia or an incurable spinal cord disease that leads to paralysis: The so-called HTLV-1 virus is the often ignored but no less insidious sibling of the AIDS pathogen HIV – it also belongs to the retroviruses. A group of researchers from the TU Dresden, the company PROVIREX Genome Editing Therapies and the Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) have now provided initial proof of concept for a possible therapeutic approach.
PROVIREX receives funding from IFB Hamburg to develop novel HIV therapy
PROVIREX Genome Editing Therapies GmbH Hamburg and the University Medical Centre Hamburg-Eppendorf will receive R&D funding from the Hamburg Investment and Development Bank (IFB Hamburg) for the next four years, as part of the Programme for Innovation (PROFI). The research object is the development of novel methods for the direct administration of antiviral therapies based on genome editing, in order to thereby provide scalable, i.e. broadly applicable, healing strategies for people with HIV and potentially other viral infections. The project is carried out in cooperation with the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf (UKE).
Original press release (only in german)
The new PROVIREX laboratories have been officially approved and are now ready for operation
Since August 2022, we have set up two completely empty rooms as two new laboratories and registered them with the authorities to continue our research and development at the new location in Start-up Labs Bahrenfeld. As of today, both rooms have been officially approved and released for laboratory work at genetic safety levels 2 and 3**. So things can finally get going again, we are looking forward to it!
Starting signal to set up a therapy hub at Science City Hamburg Bahrenfeld
At an exclusive press event on October 27, 2022, at Factory Hammerbrooklyn, the official go-ahead was given to establish a therapy hub for an HIV cure in Hamburg Bahrenfeld. Speakers at the event were Prof. Joachim Hauber (PROVIREX), Katharina Fegebank (Vice-Mayor and Senator for Science, HH), Michael Westhagemann (Senator for Economics and Innovation, HH) and Dr. Erik Hoppe (Bioventure).
Original press release (only in german)
New lead investor joins PROVIREX
Bioventure joins PROVIREX as a lead investor! IFB
Innovationstarter GmbH also increases its investment as a co-investor. These
investments will empower further advances in the development of PROVIREX’s
technology and build up the necessary infrastructure for research and
production in Hamburg.
Original press release from Oct 2022 (only in german)
PROVIREX moves into Start-Up Labs Bahrenfeld
PROVIREX started renting laboratories and office space in the Start-Up Labs Bahrenfeld on the DESY campus. The newly established workspace enables PROVIREX to develop its technology and scientifically oversee the clinical trial phase Ib/IIa HIVCure.
Ascenion GmbH and Innovationsstarter Fonds Hamburg GmbH acquire shares in PROVIREX
Researchers from Hamburg plan to use a new gene and cell method to transform the treatment of HIV patients in the future. Under the umbrella of the Hamburg biotech start-up “PROVIREX”, they are developing a new therapeutic approach that uses “gene scissors” to chop out the blueprint of the AIDS pathogen HIV from the genome of infected cells and eliminate the virus. For the first time, this approach should succeed in removing the virus altogether instead of keeping it in check, as with previous forms of treatment. Ascenion GmbH and Innovationsstarter Fonds Hamburg GmbH have acquired shares in the newly founded company PROVIREX. The start-up will drive the further development of the Brec1 technology, especially concerning simplified and direct forms of application.
PROVIREX Genome Editing Therapies GmbH and Pantherna Therapeutics GmbH are developing lipid-based delivery systems for mRNA-directed genome editing of lymphocytes for the treatment of HIV and other life-threatening persistent viral diseases.
PROVIREX and Pantherna Therapeutics entered into a research collaboration to develop and evaluate Pantherna’s proprietary PTXxLNP delivery technology based on novel lipid-based mRNA formulations for transfecting CD4+ lymphocytes. PTXxLNP is a promising candidate for the “non-viral“ delivery of PROVIREX’s proprietary antiviral genome editing tool Brec1.
PROVIREX’s proprietary Brec1 technology enters clinical testing as a first-in-human phase Ib/IIa clinical trial (HIVcure) aiming to remove HIV-1 from infected subjects using gene editing of the patient’s peripheral blood (hematopoietic) stem cells. HIVcure is being carried out at the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf (UKE) in collaboration with the Leibniz Institute for Virology (LIV, formerly HPI).
Founding of the company PROVIREX Genome Editing Therapies GmbH
Popular science article from magazine Brand Eins about Provirex and the HIVcure study (in german only).
Karpinski et al. (2016). Directed evolution of a recombinase that excises the provirus of most HIV-1 primary isolates with high specificity. Nat Biotechnol. 34:401-409.
Buchholz & Hauber (2016). Antiviral therapy of persistent viral infection using genome editing. Curr Opin Virol. 20:85-91.
Meinke et al. (2016). Cre Recombinase and Other Tyrosine Recombinases. Chem Rev. 116:12785-12820.
Hauber et al. (2013). Highly significant antiviral activity of HIV-1 LTR-specific Tre-recombinase in humanized mice. PLoS Pathog. 9:e1003587.
Buchholz & Hauber (2013). Engineered DNA modifying enzymes: components of a future strategy to cure HIV/AIDS. Antiviral Res. 97:211-217.
Buchholz & Hauber (2011). In vitro evolution and analysis of HIV-1 LTR-specific recombinases. Methods. 53:102-109.
Sarkar et al. (2007). HIV-1 proviral DNA excision using an evolved recombinase. Science. 316:1912-1915.
Who we are
PROVIREX is a spin-off of the Leibniz Institute for Virology (LIV, former HPI) and is based in Hamburg, Germany. Our team combines profound expertise in biotechnology (particularly genome editing), virology, cell biology, drug development and commercialization.
PROVIREX Genome Editing Therapies GmbH
c/o Start-up Labs Bahrenfeld
Luruper Hauptstraße 1
22547 Hamburg, Germany