LONDON, Dec. 7 /PRNewswire/ -- With bioterrorism remaining a high priority for government on both sides of the Atlantic, it is timely for the UK based biotechnology company Microscience to announce today that it has entered into a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) with the Naval Medical Research Centre (NMRC). The collaboration will evaluate pre- clinically what Microscience believe will be the first oral anthrax vaccine to enter human testing.
Under the CRADA Microscience will provide its proprietary spi-VEC delivery system which has been engineered to deliver anthrax antigens, either as protein or DNA, via an oral route. Dr Les Baillie will evaluate a number of vaccine candidates using key models of efficacy already developed at the NMRC's Laboratories in Silver Spring, Maryland.
Microscience believe that a novel oral anthrax vaccine, made possible by their spi-VEC delivery system, will offer significant advantages over the current US licensed vaccine and other second-generation injectable vaccines presently in development.
Because it is anticipated that the new vaccines will induce both systemic and mucosal immune responses it will effectively provide protection for the body's most vulnerable sites. These are lung, intestine and skin all of which are the most likely to be affected by anthrax spores in the event of a random terrorist attack.
A further advantage of the new vaccines is the fact that they are likely to confer immunity within days following just one single dose. The current vaccine is approved as a course of 6 injections over an 18-month period.
Rod Richards, the CEO of Microscience said today: "There is real synergy in this collaboration agreement and we are delighted to be working with NMRC. Additional proof of concept data, to support both the safety and efficacy of our vaccine candidates in the appropriate pre-clinical models, is likely to be achieved quickly. Microscience's objective is to develop the first oral anthrax vaccine in the shortest possible time."
Microscience is a private biotechnology company based in the UK near London. The company has a clinical development portfolio of five un-partnered human vaccines which include oral vaccines to protect against Typhoid (Phase II), Travellers Diarrhoea (Phase I) and a therapeutic vaccine for Hepatitis B (Phase I). Clinical trials for two injectable vaccines to protect against Meningitis B and neonatal Group B Streptococcus infections are due to report in 2004.
You can visit Microscience's website at http://www.microscience.com/ to view a backgrounder on anthrax and all recent company announcements.
Information in this press release may include forward-looking statements which embrace risk and uncertainties. However all information included in this text is based on information available to our client at the time of issue. These statements are not guarantees of future performance and actual results could differ materially from current expectations.
Note to Editors:
Under Project BioShield the US Government has planned to earmark 1.4 billion dollars over the 2004 - 2013 period for the purchase, maintenance and replenishment of next generation anthrax vaccines with the aim of having the ability to vaccinate around 20 million people.
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