ID Biomedical Announces NIH Grant to Develop Nasally Delivered Plague Vaccine

BOTHELL, Wash. -- ID Biomedical announced that it has been awarded up to $8 million from the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) to develop a nasally delivered plague vaccine based upon the company's proprietary, intranasal, Proteosome adjuvant/delivery technology. The primary aim of this work is to develop a sub-unit plague vaccine using a recombinant plague antigen, the FIV protein, formulated with the Proteosome technology. The NIH-funded program includes preclinical and early stage clinical trials in which the vaccine's safety and immunogenicity will be studied. The long-term objective is to advance a recombinant sub-unit nasal plague vaccine to licensure in the United States.

Potential advantages of an intranasally delivered Protesome-based plague vaccine include: ease of administration which would allow for rapid immunization of large civilian populations, the ability of the vaccine to very rapidly generate immune responses which are protective and the ability of the vaccine to generate a more robust immune response by stimulating a strong immune response on the surfaces of the nose, throat and lungs, the entry site of aerosolized biothreat agents, as well as in the bloodstream.

Commenting on the award, ID Biomedical's president Todd Patrick said, "This is an important contract because it adds to a wealth of assets that we have in biodefense. We have the strategic intent of exploiting these assets to maximize the value of our company, without diverting attention from our other commercial activities. Further, this is of particular importance to leverage the work we have completed in the injectable plague vaccine development program we are pursuing with our partner, DynPort Vaccine Company. We expect to take advantage of the systems and expertise that have been developed in the injectable program and bring them to the development of a 'second-generation' plague vaccine that can be delivered intranasally."

About Plague

The Plague is an infectious disease caused by the bacterium Yersinia Pestis. There have been more than 150 recorded plague epidemics or pandemics. It is recognized as a major potential bioterrorism threat if it is spread in the air (aerosolized) because when the bacterium is inhaled into the lungs it causes an aggressive pneumonia that is nearly always fatal. Human-to-human infection occurs when a person with plague pneumonia coughs and spreads the bacteria into the air, which is then inhaled by others. Diagnosis of plague pneumonia is difficult because early symptoms are similar to the flu. There is currently no licensed plague vaccine in the United States. The development of plague vaccines is addressed in the NIH's National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases' Strategic Plan for Biodefense Research. Plague vaccine development is one of six priority research areas intended to accelerate the creation of new products to combat bioterrorism.

Source: ID Biomedical