Argos is also supporting investigator-initiated Phase 1 and 2, per regulatory and financial filings, clinical trials of AGS-004, another Arcelis®-based immunotherapy, in adult patients with HIV to evaluate the use of AGS-004 in combination with the latency reversing drug vorinostat for the eradication of HIV at the University of North Carolina. Vorinostat is marketed under the name Zolinza by Merck & Co. Inc. for the treatment of cutaneous T-cell lymphoma. This trial is being conducted in two stages. Stage 1 of this trial, which was designed to study immune response kinetics to AGS-004 in patients on continuous anti-retroviral therapy (ART), has been completed. Data from Stage 1 were used to better define the optimal dosing strategy for the combination of AGS-004 and vorinostat in the ongoing Stage 2 of this trial. We expect that up to 12 adult patients with HIV will be studied in Stage 2. These patients will receive alternating courses of AGS-004 and vorinostat, and will continue ART throughout the study. In July 2016, the first patient in Stage 2 was dosed. The clinical study costs for the first stage of this trial were funded by the Collaboratory of AIDS Researchers for Eradication, or CARE. The second stage of the trial is being funded by a federal research grant from the Division of AIDS of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at NIH.
We also plan to explore the use of AGS-004 monotherapy to provide long-term control of HIV viral load in otherwise immunologically healthy patients, and eliminate their need for ART. Accordingly, we plan to support an investigator-initiated Phase 2 clinical trial of AGS-004 monotherapy in pediatric patients infected with HIV, who have otherwise healthy immune systems, and have been treated with ART since birth or shortly thereafter and, as a result, do not have any pre-existing immune response to the virus which may be compromised. The commencement of this trial is subject to approval of the protocol by the principal investigator(s), institutional review boards, the IMPAACT Network leadership and the FDA and to the agreement by the NIH to fund the trial costs not related to AGS-004 manufacturing. Assuming the supportive data and the necessary approvals are obtained, we expect this trial to open in 2017.