PARIS ¿ The U.S. company Ichor Corp. has changed its name to Mymetics Corp., reflecting the drug development science applied by its sole operating subsidiary, Hippocampe SA.

Both companies are based in Lyon and the president and CEO of Mymetics, Pierre-Frangois Serres, is the founder of Hippocampe.

Hippocampe is developing novel therapies and vaccines for the treatment of retroviral autoimmune diseases by applying Serres¿ discovery of a fundamental molecular mimicry between certain proteins. Serres said Mymetics¿ exploitation of this discovery should lead to the development of effective therapies and vaccines against HIV and certain animal retroviruses.

In the case of AIDS, Serres discovered that there was precise and functional 3-dimensional molecular mimicry between a very well-preserved area of GP41, a transmembrane HIV protein, and interleukin-2, the crucial protein behind the immune system response. Moreover, this molecular mimicry, which could explain certain functional anomalies associated with AIDS, was found in identical form in three species infected with the disease ¿ man, the monkey and the cat.

Hippocampe¿s research and development is currently centered on four therapeutic compounds and vaccines exploiting the virus/host molecular mimicry found in human HIV and its feline equivalent, FIV. Thanks to the US$2 million raised by Ichor in June through a private placement arranged by a Swiss merchant bank, Hippocampe has sufficient funding to finance its R&D programs for a year or more.

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