Striking new paths for personalized Medicine

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.

For a visual representation of the Brec1 technology, follow this YouTube link.


On the road

May 2023

PROVIREX has been nominated for the Hamburg 2040 Award!

With this award, the Hamburg Chamber of Commerce (Handelskammer) 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.

Original press release (only in German)


April 2023

Milestone in the fight against the trigger of a form of leukaemia in cooperation between TU Dresden, PROVIREX and the  Friedrich Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg (FAU)

Triggering aggressive forms of leukaemia or an incurable spinal cord disease that leads to paralysis. HTLV-1 virus is the often ignored but no less insidious sibling of the AIDS pathogen HIV, also belonging 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.

Original press release


April 2023

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 to develop novel methods for directly administering of antiviral therapies based on genome editing, in order to provide scalable, i.e. broadly applicable, healing strategies for people with HIV and potentially other viral infections. The project is being carried out in cooperation with the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf (UKE).

Original press release (only in German)


April 2023

The new PROVIREX laboratories have been officially approved and are now ready for operation

Since August 2022, we have been setting up two completely new laboratories and registering them with the authorities to continue our research and development at the new location in Start-up Labs Bahrenfeld. As of today, both rooms were 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!


October 2022

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)


July 2022

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)


January 2022

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.


April 2020

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.

Original press release


March 2020

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.


November 2019

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).

Original press release


November 2019

Founding of the company PROVIREX Genome Editing Therapies GmbH

Further Reading



Popular science article from magazine Brand Eins about Provirex and the HIVcure study (in german only).

Further reading


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 Core website

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