Protecting and Enhancing Human Life Is at the Center of Everything We Do
Too many people have personal experiences with infectious disease and cancers. We are working hard to be part of the solution for conditions that are challenging, aggressive, and urgent.
For us, this fight is personal.
Hepatitis B is a highly-infectious virus that affects more than 250 million people worldwide, putting them at risk of death from cirrhosis and liver cancer. With low awareness of disease status (more than 67% of chronically-infected individuals are unaware of their infection) and low adult vaccination rates of only ~25% in the U.S., acute hepatitis B infection rates have increased in recent years. With no functional cure available to date, prophylactic vaccination remains the most crucial intervention to control the disease.
A large family of enveloped viruses that cause respiratory illness of varying severities, coronaviruses have become a household name due to the global COVID-19 pandemic. Only seven coronaviruses are known to cause disease in humans, four of which most frequently cause symptoms of the common cold. Three of the seven coronaviruses, however, have more serious outcomes in people. These include (1) SARS-CoV-2, a novel coronavirus identified as COVID-19; (2) MERS-CoV, identified in 2012 as the cause of Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS); and (3) SARS-CoV, identified in 2002 as the cause of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). The virus that causes COVID-19 continues to evolve and several variants of concern have been identified. Research is ongoing to better understand these variants, how easily they might be transmitted, and the effectiveness of currently approved vaccines against them.
Cytomegalovirus (CMV) is a common virus that is a member of the herpes virus family and infects one in every two people in many developed countries. Most CMV infections are “silent,” meaning the majority of people who are infected exhibit no signs or symptoms. Despite its asymptomatic nature, CMV may cause severe infections in newborn children (congenital CMV) and may also cause serious infections in people with weakened immune systems, such as solid organ or bone marrow transplant recipients. Congenital CMV infection can be treated – but not cured, and there are currently no approved vaccines available for the prevention of infection in either the congenital, or transplant setting.
Zika is a mosquito-borne virus that is spread primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito, but can also be transmitted sexually or during pregnancy or childbirth. Acute infections are typically mild, but Zika has been associated with a number of neurological complications. The first formal description of Zika virus was published in 1952, but it was not until 2007 that the first Zika outbreak in humans was recorded. Over the past decade, Zika has begun to spread globally, and between January 2014 and February 2016, 33 countries reported circulation of the Zika virus, including in North America. There is currently no vaccine to prevent Zika infection.
Glioblastoma (GBM) is among the most common and aggressive malignant primary brain tumors in humans. In the U.S. alone, 12,000 new cases are diagnosed annually. The current standard-of-care for treating GBM is surgical resection, followed by radiation and chemotherapy. Even with intensive treatment, GBM progresses rapidly and has a high mortality rate.