Vical and NIH Developing Ebola Vaccine


SAN DIEGO -- Vical Incorporated announced today that the company has secured a nonexclusive license from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, to proprietary gene sequences used in a DNA vaccine for Ebola, based on Vical's patented gene delivery technology, being developed by the Vaccine Research Center (VRC), National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), National Institutes of Health (NIH).

The license gives Vical the right to commercialize the vaccine if it is successfully developed and approved for marketing by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Human safety testing of the investigational Ebola vaccine also began today using clinical supplies manufactured by Vical under a manufacturing agreement for the VRC.

Vical's president and CEO, Vijay B. Samant, said, "We are pleased to secure commercialization rights for the VRC's Ebola vaccine as we continue to support its development through optimization and manufacturing. Emerging diseases such as West Nile Virus, Ebola and SARS present significant challenges for vaccine development because they are often rapidly-spreading and potentially life-threatening. Our technology may offer significant development time advantages for such vaccine applications, especially in product discovery, because of our ability to rapidly construct and test vaccine candidates, even for largely uncharacterized pathogens. In addition, our process does not require handling of the dangerous pathogen itself, eliminating a potential safety risk for those involved in the vaccine's development and testing."

Ebola hemorrhagic fever is a serious, often-fatal disease that affects humans and nonhuman primates. The disease is caused by infection with Ebola virus, named after the river in Africa where it was first identified in 1976, and has emerged in sporadic outbreaks in the years since its initial recognition. The Ebola virus is believed to reside in an animal host, or reservoir, between human outbreaks, but specifics of its origin and life cycle are largely unknown. Three of the four identified subtypes of Ebola virus have caused disease in humans: Ebola-Zaire, Ebola-Sudan, and Ebola-Ivory Coast. The fourth, Ebola-Reston, has caused disease in nonhuman primates, but not in humans.

Ebola is a viral hemorrhagic fever (VHF), part of a group of illnesses that are caused by arenaviruses, filoviruses, bunyaviruses, and flaviviruses. These diseases typically impair the body's ability to regulate itself, and symptoms usually include hemorrhage (bleeding). Some types of hemorrhagic fever viruses can cause relatively mild illnesses, but many others, such as Ebola, can cause severe, life-threatening disease.

Vical researches and develops biopharmaceutical products based on our patented DNA delivery technologies for the prevention and treatment of serious or life-threatening diseases. Potential applications of the company's DNA delivery technology include DNA vaccines for infectious diseases or cancer, in which the expressed protein is an immunogen; cancer immunotherapeutics, in which the expressed protein is an immune system stimulant; and cardiovascular therapies, in which the expressed protein is an angiogenic growth factor.

Source: Vical Incorporated

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