PipelineHIV Project

HIV Project

The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) has established the 95-95-95 target

  • 95% of all HIV-positive patients to know their HIV status
  • 95% of all diagnosed HIV-positive patients to receive therapy 
  • 95% of all treated HIV-positive patients to have viral suppression

The initial milestone in combating the HIV epidemic is slated for achievement by 2025, with the overarching objective of halting the classification of AIDS as a public health concern by 2030.

However, despite efforts, the current prevalence of HIV infections remains significant, with 38.4 million people living with HIV and 1.5 million new cases reported in 2021. In this regard, global utilization of antiretroviral therapy (ART), enhanced prevention measures, and surveillance are being implemented to control the epidemic, but the development of an effective vaccine is essential to its eradication

A primary objective of HIV-1 vaccination is to stimulate the production of neutralizing antibodies, given the documented significance of these antibodies in controlling infection. Numerous studies have investigated the epitopes targeted by these antibodies, aiming to inform vaccine development efforts.


Pomona Ricerca approached the challenge of developing a new vaccine strategy from a different angle

Nisonoff and Lamoyi pioneered the concept of anti-idiotype (AI) antibodies as vaccines. Anti-idiotypic antibodies target the binding site of other antibodies (Ab1). Certain AI molecules closely mimic the structure of specific epitopes, thereby they could be utilized to elicit an Ab1-like response. This implies that the identification the anti-idiotype of a broadly neutralizing antibody (Ab1), and the exposure to this AI could trigger an immune response that replicates the broadly neutralizing activity of our original antibody (Ab1).

The proof of concept of this concept sets in the identification of the anti-idiotype that Pomona Ricerca characterized named P1. 

P1 Characteristics:

  • binding to the paratope of b12, a broad neutralizing human monoclonal antibody
  • in vivo induction of an anti-HIV-1 humoral response (New Zealand White (NZW) rabbits)
  • engineering of different antibody formats: single chain variable fragment (scFv) and minibody