SCHLIEREN, Switzerland & BOSTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--GlycoVaxyn AG, a leader in the development of innovative bioconjugate vaccines, and Professor Jean Lee, principal investigator at the Channing Laboratory, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, announced today that they have received a USD 3.4 million NIH grant to finance preclinical development of a novel Staphylococcus aureus vaccine. S. aureus is a major cause of hospital-based infections.
Using GlycoVaxyn’s proprietary technology, staphylococcal surface polysaccharides will be conjugated in vivo to conserved protein antigens from S. aureus. The efficacy of this novel bioconjugate vaccine will then be evaluated in different animal models of S. aureus infection.
“GlycoVaxyn’s first generation S. aureus bioconjugate vaccine has shown protective efficacy in preclinical studies. The new generation vaccine is expected to give broader protection against a variety of S. aureus strains,” declared Dr. Jean Lee.
GlycoVaxyn and the Brigham and Women’s Hospital have a long standing collaboration on this project, and the NIH funding will accelerate the development of potential vaccine candidates.
In parallel to this innovative approach, GlycoVaxyn, which started Phase I clinical trials with a bioconjugate vaccine against Shigella dysenteriae early this year, is expecting to start a clinical trial with its first generation S. aureus vaccine by late 2011.
“Our bioconjugation technology allows us a very flexible and powerful approach to multivalent vaccine development, coupling polysaccharide to protein antigens in a strictly controlled way,” said Dr. Michael Wacker, CSO and founder of GlycoVaxyn. “This grant confirms the potential of this approach and will allow extensive preclinical evaluation of the novel vaccine.”
Nosocomial infections, often caused by S. aureus, are a major concern in hospital settings accounting for estimated USD 5 billion in additional costs. In 2007, there were approximately 2 million infections and 100,000 associated deaths in U.S. hospitals alone, making nosocomial infections one of the leading overall causes of death. Prevention of nosocomial infections is therefore an important task for healthcare providers to reduce the burden of disease.
A conjugate vaccine, used to immunize against serious bacterial infections, is created by linking a sugar antigen to a carrier protein molecule. The current process to obtain such a structure is often very complex, unreliable and expensive. GlycoVaxyn’s S. aureus vaccine consists of capsular polysaccharide type 5 or 8 of S. aureus conjugated to a staphylococcal protein carrier. It is produced using GlycoVaxyn’s novel technology that allows the synthesis of these complex immunogenic bioconjugates via a biological process in E. coli, which makes the production more effective and controlled. Conjugate vaccines are largely used to prevent important invasive diseases such as bacteremia (bloodstream infection), pneumonia, and meningitis, with the market leader achieving nearly USD 3 billion in annual sales in 2009.
GlycoVaxyn is developing a broad portfolio of novel conjugate vaccines against common severe bacterial infections based on its unique, proprietary in-vivo glycosylation platform. With this platform, the company can develop and produce immunogenic glycoproteins in a simplified biological process that circumvents many of the difficulties involved in current methods. The lead conjugates in development are vaccines directed against Shigella dysenteriae, to prevent serious intestinal infections, and hospital acquired Staphylococcus aureus. The company also has an active program against N. meningitidis. GlycoVaxyn, a spin-out of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH), is based in Schlieren, near Zurich, Switzerland. For further information, visit www.glycovaxyn.com.
Philippe Dro, +41 44 733 8581
Mike Sinclair, +44 20 7084 5955