VLP Biotech Awarded Subcontract by Leidos to develop Malaria Vaccine
VLP Biotech, Inc., announces the award of a subcontract from Leidos (formerly known as Science Applications International Corporation), for the purpose of developing efficient and cost effective epitope based malaria vaccine candidates against P. falciparum. VLP Biotech has a virus-like particle (VLP) platform based on the woodchuck hepatitis virus core antigen (WHcAg). Under this subcontract, VLP Biotech will implement a series of research and development projects directed by Leidos to support the USAID Malaria Vaccine Development Program's (MVDP) continued effort to develop a highly efficacious, cost-effective malaria vaccine.
VLP Biotech Awarded Phase I STTR to Develop MRSA Vaccine
Staphylococcus aureus (SA) is a frequent and severe pathogen in healthcare settings as well as in the community at large. The resultant infections can lead to significant morbidity and mortality. Many of these infections arise from methicillin resistant S. aureus (MRSA). To date, there is no approved SA vaccine. In order to address this unmet medical need, VLP Biotech, together with scientists at the University of Michigan are developing a highly immunogenic MRSA vaccine candidate. This vaccine will be uniquely capable of rapidly eliciting antibody to virulence factors critical for MRSA infections. Previous work has demonstrated that antibody to these factors is highly effective in preventing tissue injury in a rigorous mouse dermonecrosis model and tissue damage and lethality in a mouse model of SA pneumonia. At the conclusion of these studies, we anticipate having a uniquely capable, rapidly-acting preventative and therapeutic vaccine for MRSA.
VLP Biotech Awarded Phase I SBIR to Develop RSV Vaccine
Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is the major cause of serious viral bronchiolitis in the young and elderly. In the first year of life 60% are infected with RSV. By two years of age 90% have been infected one or more times, representing the greatest risk for hospitalization for infants. To date, no approved vaccine or therapeutic treatment exists for this unmet medical need. Therefore, the goal of this project will be to further develop a RSV vaccine candidate that has been shown to protect rodents against a RSV challenge (The Journal of Clinical Investigation doi: 10.1172/JCI 78450).
Malaria Epitope Focused VLPs Elicit Sterile Immunity
Malaria is a tropical disease responsible for killing more people than any other communicable disease except tuberculosis. The current "state-of-the-art" malaria vaccine, RTS-S, has shown protective efficacy of between 30 and 50%. As such, it is generally acknowledged that "second generation" vaccines will be needed to address all at-risk populations. Towards that end, VLP Biotech, in collaboration with scientists in the Zavala Lab at Johns Hopkins University, report in a study published in the peer reviewed journal PLOS One (http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0124856), the development of epitope focused VLPs for P. falciparum and P. vivax which elicit sterile immunity to blood stage infection.
Greater than 99% Viral Titer Reduction Achieved in RSV Challenge Study
RSV is a major cause of lower respiratory tract disease in infants and young children. Thus, a vaccine to protect this susceptible population is a high priority. Inspired by this as yet unmet need, VLP Biotech, in collaboration with scientists at MedImmune, Gaithersburg, MD, report development of palivizumab epitope-displaying VLPs which elicit antibodies that reduce viral titers by greater than 99%. Given the structural nature of the palivizumab epitope (helix-loop-helix), these proof-of-principle study results, published in The Journal of Clinical Investigation (doi:10.1172/JCI 78450), suggest WHcAg VLP technology may be amenable to eliciting antibodies to other structural epitopes.
VLP Biotech Announces Purchase of Critical Intellectual Property
VLP Biotech is pleased to announce the purchase of all vaccine related patents held by The Vaccine Research Institute of San Diego. This portfolio includes multiple issued patents, thereby significantly strengthening VLP's IP position in the vaccine market.
VLP Invited to Join Janssen Labs Incubator
VLP has been invited to join the prestigious Janssen Labs, an incubator effort supported by Johnson and Johnson to foster "high-potential companies with compelling and credible science in an area of significant medical need." Of the many applicants, only 1 in 10 is invited to join. The Janssen Labs is equipped with state of the art facilities in close proximity to the rich biotech culture for which San Diego has become known.
VLP Awarded Phase II SBIR to Continue Development of HBV Therapeutic Vaccine
VLP has been awarded a 3 year, $2.9 million, phase II SBIR for the purpose of further developing a therapeutic vaccine for those chronically infected with HBV. It is estimated that globally there are in excess of 400 million HBV chronic carriers. Currently, there is no effective vaccine to address this problem. This second round of funding will be used to optimize a panel of VLP candidates (identified in VLP's Phase I SBIR) for advancement to clinical evaluation.
VLP Receives Additional Rounds of Funding from Major Vaccine Company
In light of progress made with the initial contract for $100,000 awarded in December, 2009, VLP has received two more rounds of funding: $250,000 in March, 2011, and $500,000 in November, 2011. This funding will be used to further improve and optimize the vaccine candidate developed under the initial agreement. To date there is no prophylactic vaccine for the targeted pathogen which is the leading worldwide agent of serious pediatric respiratory tract disease.
VLP Recruits Director
VLP is pleased to announce the election of Dr. Florian Schodel to its Board of Directors. Dr. Schodel brings with him extensive experience as a pharmaceutical executive most recently as VP-Vaccine Clinical Research-Merck Research Laboratories. During his tenure at Merck he was responsible for world wide vaccine clinical trials as well as clinical development and licensure of novel vaccines/vaccine combinations. Dr. Schodel has earned two doctorates from the University of Munich (LMU) in Transplantation Immunology and Medical Microbiology. He also holds adjunct faculty positions with LMU and the Biodesign Center at Arizona State University. As an academic his research focused, in part, on the development of novel recombinant vaccines using the HBV nucleoprotein as a vaccine platform. Towards that end, in collaboration with Dr. David Milich, VLP's current CSO, a fully protective murine malaria vaccine was developed. (JEM 1994 180:1037-46)
VLP Receives Grant to Develop HBV Therapeutic Vaccine
In collaboration with Dr. Frank Chisari at The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, VLP has been awarded a 2 year, $600,000, SBIR for the purpose of developing a therapeutic vaccine for those chronically infected with HBV. It is estimated that globally there are in excess of 400 million HBV chronic carriers. To date, there is no effective vaccine available to address this problem. It is our aim to use this funding to explore the use of our patented vaccine carrier technology for preclinical development of such a vaccine.
Business Development Agreement Signed with Major Vaccine Company
VLP Biotech has entered into an agreement with a major vaccine company to develop prototype vaccines using our patented vaccine platform. This agreement will allow evaluation of our platform in both invitro and invivo model systems.
VLP Biotech is Formed
The VRISD has formed a new vaccine development company together with Tripep, a Swedish biotechnology research company. The new company, VLP Biotech, will be based in San Diego, California. Tripep's initial investment will be $500,000 over two years. VLP Biotech will focus on developing and commercializing proprietary virus-like particle technology owned by the VRISD.
Images courtesy of Princeton University & National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine.
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