The National Institutes of Health has awarded a small business
innovation research grant to Biothera for the continued development of a
The $150,000 grant will support the continued preclinical research
collaboration between Biothera and the California Institute for Medical
Research (CIMR), which is focused on creating a novel fungal vaccine
that may protect against infection from many different fungal species.
The technology involves combining a purified fungal carbohydrate and a
protein antigen into a single vaccine. In previous studies, Biothera,
with its expertise in carbohydrate chemistry, created a vaccine by
conjugating beta glucan particles, a major component of fungal cell
walls, with a nonfungal protein antigen. The new funding will extend
development to conjugating beta glucan particles with a specific protein
antigen shared among different fungi, potentially providing the basis
for a pan-fungal vaccine.
In initial preclinical studies, CIMR researchers demonstrated that the
vaccine preparations protected mice from lethal infections with either
aspergillosis or coccidioidomycosis (Valley Fever fungus). Some doses
effectively reduced the burden of the fungus in the infected organs
compared to the nonvaccinated control mice. In addition, the type of
immune response the vaccines induced showed enhanced production of
molecules that stimulate white blood cell killing of invading pathogens,
as well as what appeared to be stimulation of what could beome a long
lasting memory response.
"The goal is to develop a simpler but equally powerful and broad vaccine
that could prevent such infections, and lessen the need for difficult
and costly treatment," said David A. Stevens, M.D., president of the
CIMR and principal investigator of its Infectious Disease Research
"Our Biothera research group looks forward to the ongoing collaboration
with scientists from the California Institute for Medical Research on
the development of the vaccine," said Don Cox, Ph.D., the principal
investigator for Biothera. "This vaccine application reflects the broad
potential of Biothera's beta glucan technologies."
Initial results from the CIMR aspergillosis study were presented at the
53rd Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy
(ICAAC) meeting in Denver, CO. Recent results from the
coccidioidomycosis study will be presented at the 54th Interscience
Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy (IAAC) meeting in
Washington, DC on September 8, 2014.
About Biothera, the Immune Health CompanyBiothera is a U.S.
biotechnology company dedicated to improving immune health. The company
is a pioneer in the field of cancer immunotherapy and the leader in
innate immune modulation. www.biothera.com.
About the California Institute for Medical ResearchCIMR, on
the grounds of Santa Clara Valley Medical Center in San Jose and
governed by a Board of community leaders, was founded by Santa Clara
County physicians 50 years ago, and enjoys financial support from
philanthropic individuals in the South Bay, as well as from foundations
and governmental agencies.
CIMR researchers for this vaccine study include internationally
acclaimed experts in fungal diseases, Dr. Stevens and Karl V. Clemons,
Ph.D. In addition to his responsibilities at CIMR, Dr. Stevens is
Professor (Emeritus) of Medicine (tenured, 1978), Stanford University
Medical School and Chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases and
Hospital Epidemiologist, Santa Clara Valley Med. Ctr., Stanford and San
Jose, California. Dr. Clemons is a Senior Research Scientist at the
California Institute for Medical Research (CIMR) and Senior Lecturer in
Medicine at Stanford University. He is the Director of the Laboratory
Animal Facility, and Institutional Biosafety Officer. Visit www.cimr.org.
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