Herpes Zoster

Herpes Zoster (or Shingles) is caused by the virus Varicella zoster (VZV) and is believed to infect 1 out of every 3 Americans in their lifetime, resulting in more than 1 million cases each year. It occurs frequently in elderly persons, causing extremely painful skin rashes and blisters, which can occur on the body or face. The disease can be self-limiting with skin lesions healing and pain resolving within one month. Alternatively, the disease may be chronic, with debilitating nerve pain that can last for years or eye infections that can result in vision loss. XBiotech has been developing a candidate True Human™ antibody therapy to treat or prevent shingles.

The Company’s R&D program for herpes zoster began by screening the healthy human population for antibodies that neutralize VZV and then isolating the genetic information encoding individual anti-VZV antibodies. Using this proprietary discovery technology, the Company succeeded in identifying high affinity antibodies against VZV. Since XBiotech does not presently have the capability to perform infectious disease research using the VZV virus in-house, the Company recently contracted an outside research organization to assess the ability of these antibodies to block VZV infectivity. Data has been provided by the contractor demonstrating that several of its anti-VZV antibodies do in fact block the ability of the VZV virus to infect cells. The Company plans to contract additional studies. There are no relevant animal models for shingles and the Company therefore expects to advance an antibody therapy for clinical trials based on these or similar cellular-based VZV infectivity studies. These antibodies against VZV are now being developed in our manufacturing production system, which could enable adequate quantities of antibody product for potential use in clinical trials and commercial development.