Division of Infection and Immunity


HIV immune therapy & cure to be explored by trans-atlantic industry-academia collaboration

26 February 2019

The NEOMED Institute, GSK, the CHUM Research Centre and UCL have entered into a strategic collaboration to explore the potential of a newly identified target for HIV immune therapy and cure.

HIV virus being released from the surface of an infected cell

The NEOMED Institute (NEOMED), GlaxoSmithKline Inc. (GSK), the Centre Hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal (CHUM) Research Centre and University College London (UCL) have entered into a strategic collaboration to explore the potential of a newly identified target for HIV immune therapy and cure.

It will be a truly collaborative effort in which all parties will contribute their resources and expertise to the project.  A joint steering committee with representation by all parties will oversee all aspects of the research to be conducted in the laboratories of the CHUM Research Centre and UCL during the next two years.  Additionally, the project will be funded by both NEOMED and GSK through the NEOMED GSK Discovery Fund established in 2017 and intended to accelerate novel science and technology discoveries emanating from Quebec (Canada) universities and research centres.

“This international collaboration truly reflects NEOMED`s mission to help translate innovative scientific ideas into the medicines of the future,” said Donald Olds, President & CEO of the NEOMED Institute.

“By working with others in an open and collaborative way, we can achieve so much more for patients and the life sciences sector than we could hope to do alone,” said Yoo-Seok (YS) Hong, President, Canada Pharmaceuticals, GSK.  “We are proud to work in collaboration, along with NEOMED, with two well known academic institutions to help progress the work on a very exciting target with leading researchers in their field.”

The value and potential for this new target for HIV immune therapy and cure was independently identified through different approaches in the laboratories of Dr Petronela Ancuta at the CHUM Research Centre and Professor Ariberto Fassati at UCL and became the framework of a well-established collaboration between these two researchers. “Although very preliminary, the evidence that we have been able to generate together suggests the potential ability to significantly decrease HIV replication and persistence,” mentions Dr Ancuta, Full Research Professor, Immunopathology at the CHUM Research Centre.  “We are very encouraged by our work to date and even more so by the belief in and support from both NEOMED and GSK that will help accelerate our further research on this target and its potential impact on HIV,” added Professor Fassati.