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MALVERN, Pa. -- Novavax, Inc., a specialty pharmaceutical company, today announced it received a three year contract from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to develop a Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) vaccine using its proprietary Virus Like
Particle (VLP) technology. The grant for $1,069,789 over three years will assist Novavax in its development of a VLP vaccine for proof of concept studies in preparation for human trials.
"The SARS vaccine project extends our vaccine technology into another
important emerging disease indication. Our proprietary VLP technology, and its
clinical advantages, are gaining acceptance among vaccine experts as an
alternative to traditional vaccine technology," said Nelson M. Sims, president
and CEO of Novavax Inc. "The vaccine program will be an important contributor to
the value of Novavax's development pipeline."
Novavax conducts an extensive proprietary vaccine development and contract
research program led by Gale Smith, PhD, an authority on vaccine and insect
cell technology, from its facilities in Rockland, Md.
"This new funding will expand our number of VLP projects in development to
four, including projects for HIV/AIDS, pandemic flu, and annual flu. The
support from the NIH for our VLP technology increases awareness of VLP
vaccines as a viable alternative to the current egg based or cell culture
technologies," said Smith, vice president of vaccine development for Novavax Inc.
SARS is a severe form of pneumonia, accompanied by a fever, caused by a
coronavirus. The World Health Organization (WHO) reported 8,098 SARS cases
and approximately 774 deaths since the first case of SARS was reported in
Novavax's VLP technology uses recombinant protein technology to imitate
the structure of a virus to provide protection without the risk of infection
or disease. Novavax's proprietary production technology lowers the cost and
eliminates the labor intensive nature of the traditional egg based process by
using insect cells. The VLP technology produces safe and effective vaccine
products through an aseptic process that reduces contamination risk and
produces high, cost-effective yields. A key advantage of the technology is
the ability to rapidly respond to emerging threats or new strains.
Novavax also performs research and development services on traditional
vaccines including tolerogen proteins as a preventative therapy for the
inflammation-causing immune responses that are believed to contribute to
stroke and cardiovascular disease. In December 2004 Novavax received a
contract to manufacture E-selectin tolerogen for a Phase I clinical trial
conducted by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke at
the NIH (NINDS/NIH) in patients at risk for secondary stroke.
Source: Novavax, Inc.