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
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
Source: Juvaris BioTherapeutics Inc.