PaxVax Inc., a specialty vaccine company with a commercial focus on
travel and biodefense and a social mission to ensure global access to
its vaccines, today announced that it has entered into a research and
development collaboration with the University of California, San Diego
to develop a combination vaccine to prevent genital herpes simplex virus
(HSV) infections. PaxVax will license intellectual property and work
together with Deborah Spector, Ph.D., distinguished professor in the UC
San Diego Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences and the
university's Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine to select the
optimal vaccine combination and take this vaccine candidate into
clinical trials. Financial terms of the collaboration were not disclosed.
HSV is one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases in the
United States and throughout the world, with approximately 750,000 new
infections annually in the U.S. alone. Approximately 20 percent of the
U.S. population is infected with HSV. There are two types of HSV,
including HSV2, which is most commonly associated with genital herpes.
HSV1 is generally responsible for "fever blisters" or cold sores around
the mouth and face, but can also cause genital herpes. After the initial
infection, HSV becomes latent or dormant, but can reactivate
periodically causing local skin lesions and the shedding of virus that
can be spread by sexual contact. Prescription medicines are available to
inhibit virus replication, lessen symptoms and decrease transmission to
others, but a treatment does not exist to block the initial infection or
onset of HSV. It has been shown that people who are infected with HSV
are more susceptible to HIV infection, and thus an effective vaccine for
HSV could also reduce HIV transmission rates.
"Dr. Spector and her laboratory at UC San Diego have carried out basic
and vaccine-related research with herpes simplex virus and
cytomegalovirus for many years, and have developed impressive vaccine
strategies, which in animal models show encouraging safety and
efficacy," said Jonathan Smith, executive vice president and chief
scientific officer at PaxVax. "We believe that there are synergies
between Dr. Spector's approach and technologies developed at PaxVax,
such as our oral, adenovirus-based vaccines that could lead to an
effective vaccine for HSV. PaxVax also has the necessary manufacturing,
regulatory and clinical capabilities and expertise that would allow us
to manufacture such an HSV vaccine and test it in a clinical setting."
PaxVax's proprietary vecor-based technology platform, which would be
leveraged to develop the HSV vaccine, has helped the company develop
several vaccine candidates that have reached clinical trials, including
candidates for pandemic influenza, HIV, and anthrax. As described in a
proof-of-principle study published in the journal Lancet Infectious
Disease (see http://www.thelancet.com/journals/laninf/article/PIIS1473-3099(12)70345-6/fulltext),
the oral adenovirus-vectored vaccine candidate as part of a prime-boost
regimen has the potential to generate more robust antibody responses
than traditional vaccine methodologies. PaxVax intends to pursue a
similar prime-boost approach using the PaxVax adenovirus technology in
conjunction with booster antigens developed by Dr. Spector.
"Currently, there is no available vaccine to help prevent HSV
infections," said Dr. Spector. "My laboratory has been studying various
aspects of herpes viruses for many years, and it's gratifying to see
that our work has been recognized and identified as a potential option
that matches well with PaxVax's technology."
"We will continue to expand our specialty product portfolio to include
vaccine candidates, such as a combination vaccine for herpes, if it
means that we can address diseases that currently lack affordable and
easy-to-access solutions," said Kenneth Kelley, chief executive officer
of PaxVax. "For this patient population, there may be effective
therapeutic drugs available to help manage the disease, but we're
particularly interested in helping to prevent this unaddressed
infectious disease, which not only affects areas of the developed world,
but more severely impacts developing areas such as sub-Sahara Africa
where it contributes to the transmission of HIV."
PaxVax is a privately held specialty vaccine company founded in 2007,
and has raised nearly $75 million from investors and is supported by
grants, contracts, and awards from the NIH, the Wellcome Trust, and the
Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. PaxVax is focused on travelers'
vaccines with an emerging pipeline in vaccines for infectious diseases
coupled with a social mission to ensure global access to its products.
PaxVax's clinical-stage product portfolio includes its lead product
PXVX0200, which is an oral, single-dose cholera vaccine in Phase 3
clinical trials, a pandemic oral vectored H5N1 influenza vaccine that
recently concluded a successful Phase 1 clinical trial, as well as oral
vectored vaccines for anthrax and HIV, which are currently in Phase 1
clinical trials in collaboration with the U.S. National Institutes of
Health. The company also has a pipeline of early-stage travelers'
vaccine candidates for dengue and rabies.
The company's proprietary adenoviral-based technology platform enables
the rapid development of oral vaccines that can target viral or
bacterial protein antigens. PaxVax's vaccine candidates are designed to
enhance immune responses and offer an easier way to manufacture, store,
distribute, administer, and deliver vaccines globally compared to
conventional injectable vaccines. PaxVax is headquartered in Redwood
City, California and has research and development laboratories and
state-licensed Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) production facilities
in San Diego, California. More information about PaxVax is available at www.PaxVax.com.
About UC San Diego
The University of California, San Diego is a student-centered,
research-focused, service-oriented public institution that provides
opportunity for all. Recognized as one of the top 15 research
universities worldwide, a culture of collaboration sparks discoveries
that advance society and drive economic impact. Our students, who learn
from Nobel laureates, MacArthur fellows and National Academy members,
are committed to public service. For the fourth consecutive year, UC San
Diego has been ranked first in the nation based on research, civic
engagement and social mobility. We are one campus with multiple pillars
of excellence, a top ten public university that is transforming lives,
shaping new disciplines and advancing the frontiers of knowledge. Learn
more at www.ucsd.edu.
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