ImmuLogic Pharmaceutical Corp. is seeking corporate partnersto commercialize its recently patented technology to enhancethe efficacy of vaccines.

Using ImmuLogic's method, "you can ask, for each virus, whichpeptides in the virus stimulate T cells," said Malcolm Gefter,ImmuLogic chairman and chief scientific officer. "So you candesign vaccines by rational drug design instead of empirically,as in the past."

T cells produce lymphokines that in turn stimulate B cells toproduce antibodies.

While a professor of biology at the Massachusetts Institute ofTechnology, Gefter discovered that the HLA molecules that siton the surface of macrophages are peptide receptors. When amacrophage digests a viral protein into small peptides, theHLA molecule binds one of those peptides on the macrophagesurface, where it can be recognized by an appropriate T cell.That T cell then becomes stimulated.

Prior to this discovery, said Gefter, it was necessary toconjugate the target portion of the virus with a large proteinor whole yeast particle that acted as the T cell stimulus. "Wecan now replace the need to form these very difficultconjugates with a specific peptide to produce an activevaccine," Gefter told BioWorld.

ImmuLogic is the exclusive licensee of the patent, No.5,019,384, which was issued to MIT on May 28.

ImmuLogic (NASDAQ:IMUL) of Cambridge, Mass., is alreadyworking with several companies to develop vaccines using thetechnology, but Gefter declined to disclose details.

-- Karen Bernstein BioWorld Staff

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