HALIFAX, NOVA SCOTIA--(Marketwired - June 23, 2016) - Immunovaccine Inc. ("Immunovaccine" or the "company") (TSX:IMV)(OTCQX:IMMVF), a clinical stage vaccine and immunotherapy company, today announced it was awarded a subcontract by Leidos, a health, national security, and infrastructure solutions company, to evaluate Immunovaccine's DepoVax™ platform for the development of peptide based malaria vaccine targets. The subcontract is funded through Leidos' prime contract from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to provide vaccine evaluations in the preclinical, clinical and field stages of malaria vaccine development. Leidos and Immunovaccine will work together to identify adjuvant and antigen combinations that can be used to protect against malaria and, with the DepoVax™ delivery system, formulate promising vaccine candidates for potential clinical testing.
"The flexibility and rapid immune response of Immunovaccine's DepoVax™ platform allows us to broaden application beyond immuno-oncology and collaborate with Leidos and other companies that are developing vaccines against diseases that cause widespread public health issues," said Frederic Ors, Chief Executive Officer of Immunovaccine. "The unique features of the DepoVax™ technology and its mechanism of action have the potential to eliminate vaccine development barriers and provide results not seen before, which can lead to innovative approaches in treating these diseases."
Malaria continues to be a major public health problem in many parts of the developing world. The World Health Organization's World Malaria Report 2015 reported that children under five are particularly susceptible to malaria illness, infection and death. In 2015, malaria was responsible globally for 306,000 deaths of children under the age of five. Malaria is caused by a parasite of the Plasmodium species (either Plasmodium falciparum or Plasmodium vivax are most common), which enters the human circulatory system via bites by Anopheles mosquitoes. Currently, there is no vaccine on the market to prevent life-threatening malaria, which is mostly caused by Plasmodium falciparum.
The development of a malaria vaccine with improved efficacy, and duration over current vaccines in development, would be an important additional tool in battling this disease. Leidos provides USAID a virtual pharma approach to vaccine development, in that they are agnostic to any single technology or laboratory.
This is the second malaria collaboration for Immunovaccine. Earlier this month, the company announced a preclinical collaboration with The University of Edinburgh's Center for Immunity, Infection and Evolution (CIIE). The study will explore if novel CIIE-identified targets, when formulated in the DepoVax™ delivery system, provide immunogenic responses against parasites that cause life-threatening malaria.
DepoVax™ is a patented formulation that provides controlled and prolonged exposure of antigens plus adjuvant to the immune system, resulting in a strong, specific and sustained immune response with the potential for single-dose effectiveness. The DepoVax™ platform is flexible and can be used with a broad range of target antigens for preventative or therapeutic applications. The technology is designed to be commercially scalable, with the potential for years of shelf life stability. Fully synthetic, off-the-shelf DepoVax™-based vaccines are also relatively easy to manufacture, store, and administer. This would enable Immunovaccine to pursue vaccine candidates in cancer, infectious diseases and other vaccine applications.
Immunovaccine Inc. develops cancer immunotherapies and infectious disease vaccines based on the Company's DepoVax™ platform, a patented formulation that provides controlled and prolonged exposure of antigens and adjuvant to the immune system. Immunovaccine has advanced two T cell activation therapies for cancer through Phase 1 human clinical trials and is currently conducting a Phase 2 study with its lead cancer vaccine therapy, DPX-Survivac, in recurrent lymphoma. DPX-Survivac is expected to enter additional Phase 2 clinical studies in ovarian cancer and glioblastoma (brain cancer). In collaboration with commercial and academic partners, Immunovaccine is also expanding the application of DepoVax™ as an adjuvanting platform for vaccines targeted against infectious diseases. Immunovaccine's goal in infectious diseases is to out-license its DepoVa™ platform to partners to generate earlier revenues. Connect at www.imvaccine.com
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