GenVec and PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative (MVI) amended an existing deal such that the company will receive up to $750,000 in additional funding through the end of 2007.
The collaboration between GenVec and MVI is currently worth up to $3.9 million and seeks to produce and evaluate adenovirus vectors containing genes for up to five malaria antigens. Under a separate CRADA between GenVec and the Naval Medical Research Center (NMRC), NMRC scientists provided GenVec with optimized malaria genes used in the adenovector vaccines.
A multivalent vaccine has been developed under the initial collaborative research, development, and supply agreement. MVI believes that the amendment will provide sufficient funding for GenVec and NMRC to complete the last steps in preclinical development prior to the production of cGMP materials that will be required for human clinical evaluation.
This multivalent vaccine contains the genes for up to five malaria antigens from different stages of the parasite's life cycle. Three of the antigens, circumsporozoite protein, liver stage antigen-1, and antigen 2 are expressed from a single adenovector and target the liver stage of the disease. The two additional antigens, merozoite surface protein-1 and apical membrane antigen-1, are expressed from a second adenovector and target the blood stage.
"These novel vector designs enable us to produce a vaccine that targets five major malaria antigens, and we believe it can be produced cost-effectively," says Joseph Bruder, Ph.D., GenVec's director of vector and vaccine programs.
Christian Loucq, M.D., director of strategy and operations and interim director of MVI, adds that, "The preclinical studies supported by this partnership will provide additional information about the candidate vaccine best positioned to move forward. This information will allow MVI and the field to direct research and resources toward the most promising components for an effective malaria vaccine."