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VANCOUVER -- ID Biomedical today announced that it has been awarded a subcontract from Dynport Vaccine Company, LLC (DVC), relating to the development of a second-generation, subunit Plague vaccine. The subcontract provides ID Biomedical with approximately $6 million to clone, express and produce under current Good Manufacturing Practices a subunit recombinant Plague vaccine antigen. The parties expect the majority of the project to be concluded this calendar year.
The Plague, also known as "the Black Death," is caused by Yersinia pestis bacteria. In past centuries, there have been over 150 recorded epidemics and pandemics of the Plague, including a pandemic that killed about one-third of the population of Europe and England. Plague pneumonia is highly contagious because large numbers of Plague bacteria can rapidly spread person-to-person through coughing and initial symptoms are similar to the flu. There is no licensed vaccine against the pneumonic form of Plague. The injected formalin- killed whole cell vaccine made many years ago does not protect against inhaled exposure to the Plague bacteria and has been withdrawn from the market.
"We are pleased to begin this relationship with DVC" said Todd R. Patrick, ID Biomedical's president and COO. "Winning this competitive bid represents an important step for ID Biomedical. We have previously stated that our core competencies and proprietary technologies may afford us significant opportunities in the area of biodefense vaccine development. We are now examining a number of requests for proposals to capitalize not only on our expertise in subunit vaccines, but also to respond to those circumstances where the intranasal delivery of subunit vaccines may be important in preventing diseases caused by biological warfare agents. We look forward to working with strong partners, such as DVC and others, in these efforts."
"DVC is excited about partnering with ID Biomedical on this nationally important program," said Terry Irgens, DVC president. "ID Biomedical has extensive experience with vaccines in general, and the plague vaccine component in particular. We selected this Company as our newest industry partner after a thorough competitive source selection. ID Biomedical was selected, in part, because of its extensive past body of work in subunit vaccine development, and we are glad to welcome them as the newest partner in DVC's mission to produce safe and efficacious vaccines against biowarfare agents."
DVC, a joint venture between DynCorp of Reston, Va. and Porton International, Inc., is chartered with providing an integrated approach for the advanced development of specific vaccines and other products to protect against the threat of biological warfare agents. In 1997, the U.S. Department of Defense initiated the Joint Vaccine Acquisition Program, which includes a 10-year contract with DVC for the development of vaccines against certain acute infectious diseases and contagious diseases. DVC is currently developing seven vaccines for the U.S. Department of Defense Joint Vaccine Acquisition Program and is the first company to initiate clinical trials on the new smallpox vaccine for the Department of Defense. They are also expected to be the first to complete the trials for vaccine immune globulin (VIG), an antiserum needed for the smallpox vaccination program. DVC's mission is to develop vaccines that meet the highest standards and requirements for today's soldiers.
ID Biomedical is a North American-based biotechnology company focused on the development of proprietary subunit vaccine products, including those based on its Proteosome platform intranasal adjuvant/delivery technology. ID Biomedical is developing subunit vaccines for the prevention of a number of different diseases. The company's lead products in clinical development are the FluINsure intranasal influenza vaccine and the StreptAvax group A streptococcal vaccine. Additionally, the company has a number of vaccines in preclinical development.