Collaborative Research and Licensing Opportunity: Recombinant HIV-1 Envelope Proteins and Their Use

NIAID researchers developed a recombinant HIV-1 trimer immunogen that utilizes a closed conformation of trimeric gp120 to stabilize epitopes for broadly neutralizing antibodies. The recombinant Env ectodomain trimers can induce higher neutralizing antibody titers than wild type Env trimers.

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Millions of people are infected with HIV-1 worldwide.  In the U.S., there are about 30,000 new cases of HIV infection reported annually.  Currently, there are effective, anti-retroviral therapeutics available to treat or prevent HIV infections.  However, available anti-retroviral therapeutics require life-long administration. 

       During infection, proteases of the host cell cleave gp160 into gp120 and gp41.  Gp41 is an integral membrane protein, while gp120 protrudes from the mature virus.  Together gp120 and gp41 aggregate as trimers that make up the HIV-1 envelope (“Env”) spike, which is a target for neutralizing antibodies. 

       NIAID researchers have constructed a recombinant HIV-1 trimer immunogen.  In particular, the recombinant gp120 protein in the trimer is stabilized in a closed conformation, preventing it from binding to CD4.  The advantage of the closed conformation is that it can stabilize the epitopes that bind to broadly neutralizing antibodies, minimize the binding of gp120 with weakly or non-neutralizing antibodies, and prevent conformational changes induced by CD4 as well as immunogen sequestration by CD4 in vivo.  Research has also indicated that recombinant Env ectodomain trimers can induce higher neutralizing antibody titers than wild type Env trimers in animal models.

Potential Commercial Applications: 

  • HIV-1 immunogen
  • New methods for isolating broadly neutralizing antibodies

Competitive Advantages: 

A new strategy in inducing immune response against HIV-1

Development Stage: 

Pre-Clinical; Proof-of-concept studies in nonhuman primate models


Paolo Lusso, Peng Zhang, all of NIAID, NIH

Intellectual Property:  HHS Reference No. E-102-2016/0 - PCT Application No. PCT/US2017/021573, filed on 03/09/2017

Licensing and Collaborative Research Opportunity:

The Technology Transfer and Intellectual Property Office (TTIPO) is seeking parties interested in licensing or collaborative research to further co-develop this technology. In particular, NIAID is interested in partnerships utilizing vector vaccine platforms for expressing these immunogens. However, NIAID is willing to discuss other applications of this technology. For opportunities, please contact Chris Kornak, J.D., 240-627-3705,

Go to the profile of NIAID Technology Transfer and Intellectual Property Office

NIAID Technology Transfer and Intellectual Property Office

NIAID’s technology transfer office, TTIPO, is a one-stop resource for organizations interested in partnering with NIAID to access, develop, and manage the translation of research discoveries into medically beneficial products. TTIPO seeks to expand NIAID’s innovation pipeline with existing and new partners in areas such as newly emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases (e.g., dengue, Zika, Ebola, influenza, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and HIV/AIDS), biodefense (e.g., smallpox and anthrax), and immune-mediated diseases (e.g., asthma and allergy).

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