GenVec will receive approximately $2.5 million to support the development of cell lines for vaccine candidates. The phase 2 SBIR grant comes from the NIAID and spans three years.
Specifically, the firm will use the money to create cell lines capable of producing vaccine vectors based on different human serotype groups and encoding inhibitory antigens. “This important grant will support work to advance our cell line technology and enhance GenVec's ability to discover and develop new adenovector-based vaccines and therapeutics,” remarks Doug Brough, executive director of vector sciences.
GenVec is utilizing its adenovector technology to develop vaccines for infectious diseases including HIV, malaria, foot-and-mouth disease (FMD), respiratory syncytial virus, and HSV-2. The HIV program is being carried out in collaboration with the Vaccine Research Center, and Phase II testing began in October 2005. The candidate is designed to protect against the three most common types of HIV-1 found around the world: clades A, B, and C.
It uses GenVec’s 293-ORF6 production cell line and reportedly generates a broad spectrum of immune responses including neutralizing antibodies and cytolytic T-cell immunity. A second-generation vaccine candidate, being funded through a subcontract worth up to $50 million and managed by SAIC-Frederick, is also in development.
GenVec is also working on multiantigen malaria vaccines in partnership with the Naval Medical Research Center (NMRC) and the Malaria Vaccine Initiative. The candidates are produced using the 293-ORF6 cell line, designed to attack both the blood and liver stages of malaria. In January 2007 the NMRC started a Phase I trial with one of the vaccine candidates.
The company’s program for FMD includes vaccine candidates and antiviral agents and is being carried out with the help of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the USDA-Agricultural Research Service.