Carrington Subsidiary Receives $6 Million Biodefense Grant to Develop Nasal Flu Vaccine

IRVING, Texas -- Carrington Laboratories, Inc. announced that its wholly-owned subsidiary, DelSite Biotechnologies, Inc., has been awarded a $6 million grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases to develop an inactivated influenza nasal powder vaccine against the H5N1 strain commonly known as bird flu.  The grant was awarded under a biodefense and SARS product development initiative and will fund a 3-year preclinical program utilizing the companys proprietary GelVac delivery system.

Commenting on the award, DelSites president, Dr. Kenneth (Bill) Yates, said, This award serves as an important milestone for DelSite because it allows us to begin development of our first vaccine product based on the GelVac delivery system, a vaccine that addresses the potential for pandemic outbreaks of H5N1 (bird flu), which has reportedly caused more than 30 deaths in Asia this year.  We have assembled an excellent team of scientists for this project led by Dr. Yawei Ni, and we look forward to the opportunity that this grant provides for our company.

The companys GelSite polymer technology, which is the basis for the GelVac Nasal Powder vaccine delivery system, is a novel polysaccharide that turns from a powder to a gel upon contact with nasal fluids, resulting in controlled release and increased nasal residence time of vaccine antigens.  The benefits of an intranasal powder vaccine could potentially eliminate the need for cold chain storage and the use of injections to immunize large populations and would be useful for stockpiling vaccine.  This could be especially important in pandemic or biodefense situations.

About Avian Influenza

The World Health Organization defines an influenza pandemic as a global outbreak of influenza that occurs when a new influenza A virus emerges among people, spreads and causes disease worldwide.  Past influenza pandemics have led to high levels of illness, death, social disruption and economic loss.

According to the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) outbreaks of avian, or bird flu, have been reported since 1997.  The CDC projects that today if a pandemic were to occur, it would likely result in 2 to 7.4 million deaths globally.  Although high income countries could experience 1.5 million to 5.2 million hospital admissions, the impact of the next pandemic is likely to be greatest in low income countries because of different population characteristics and the already strained health care resources.

About GelSite and GelVac

GelSite polymer is a naturally sourced, high molecular weight charged

polysaccharide that exhibits distinct chemical and functional properties proprietary to the company.  GelSite is water-based and is capable of in situ gelation, i.e., changing from a liquid to a gel upon contact with bodily fluids. GelSite is a member of a family of plant polysaccharides classified by the FDA as Generally Regarded As Safe (GRAS) and is currently manufactured to cGMP standards.

GelVac is a simple and broad nasal powder vaccine delivery platform based on GelSite polymer.  The GelVac delivery system increases antigen nasal residence time providing for prolonged contact with the mucosal surface, which may improve immune response.

Source: Carrington Laboratories