Juvaris Announces Phase I SBIR for Development of Pseudomonas aeruginosa Vaccine

PLEASANTON, Calif. -- Juvaris BioTherapeutics Inc., a

private biotechnology company, announces it has received a phase I SBIR

grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease. The

grant will fund initial studies for the development of a vaccine against

Pseudomonas aeruginosa in collaboration with Dr. Teiji Sawa at the University

of California, San Francisco (UCSF).

P. aeruginosa is a significant opportunistic pathogen, particularly in

hospitalized patients with ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP), severe

burns, immunosuppression due to chemotherapy, cystic fibrosis patients with

lung-related infections, and patients with indwelling catheters. Pseudomonas

causes disease by the release of exotoxins, which damage or destroy the

surrounding host tissue, promote dissemination of the organism and paralyze

the phagocytic mechanism.

Pseudomonas sepsis and Pseudomonas pneumonia have

mortality rates of 20 percent to 50 percent and 30 percent to 40 percent, respectively. The vaccine approach

consists of using Juvaris' proprietary cationic lipid-DNA complexes combined

with a Pseudomonas-specific antigen, discovered by the UCSF collaborators, to

generate potent antibody- and cell-mediated immune responses.

In commenting on the grant approval, Juvaris' CEO Martin D. Cleary stated

"The award of this SBIR grant is independent validation that the Juvaris

JuvaVax antigen-specific vaccine platform will be relevant in the

important infectious disease arena. This award compliments a recent grant to

Dr. Steve Dow at Colorado State University for the development of a vaccine

for plague using the same JuvaVax technology. We are excited about this

product opportunity and our new collaboration with Dr. Sawa at UCSF, a

recognized expert in the biology of P. aeruginosa."

Juvaris BioTherapeutics was created in 2002 to develop an

immunotherapeutic product platform for the treatment of infectious diseases

and cancer using lipid-DNA complexes. Cationic lipids are formulated with

non-coding DNA (plasmid) to create JuvImmune, a single lipid-DNA complex,

which as an immunostimulation product will have utility in a number of

non-antigen immunotherapeutic applications. The DNA in these complexes does

not code for protein, but rather, through a combined synergistic effect with

lipids, strongly stimulates immune responses.

The JuvImmune product has been shown to be at least 50 times more

potent at triggering innate immune activation and interferon release than

current immune stimulants. Juvaris was recently issued Patent No. 6,693,086

titled "Systemic Immune Activation Method Using Nucleic Acid-Lipid Complexes"

providing broad intellectual property coverage for the JuvImmune

technology.

When combined with disease-specific antigens, the technology creates

JuvaVax vaccines capable of activating substantial antibody- and

cell-mediated immune responses, particularly induction of cytotoxic T

lymphocytes. Immunological responses elicited by the lipid-DNA complexes have

been successfully demonstrated in both prophylactic and therapeutic settings

in a variety of mammals including rodents, rabbits, cats, dogs and non-human

primates. This system provides the opportunity to develop many

disease-specific vaccine products, for which there are significant unmet

medical needs.

Source: Juvaris BioTherapeutics Inc.

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