Pevion Biotech’s existing investors have put another CHF10 million (about $9.7 million) into the firm to help fund continued progression of its pipeline of virosome-based vaccine candidates. The Swiss company also announced the appointment of Evert Kueppers, Ph.D., as its new CEO. Dr Kueppers was previously CEO at Pieris and takes over as Pevion CEO from Thomas Stauffer.
Pevion is developing therapeutic and prophylactic vaccine candidates based on virosome technology that has already achieved market approval as part of the hepatitis A vaccine Epaxal®, and the flu vaccine Inflexal® V, which are marketed by Crucell. Pevion’s pipeline includes an early clinical-stage vaccine against vaginal candidasis, and a clinical-stage malaria vaccine that has been licensed out, the firm explains. The virosome technology has separately been licensed out for use in the development of an HIV vaccine that is undergoing human evaluation. Pevion’s preclinical programs include vaccines against respiratory syncytial virus and pandemic influenza.
PEV7 is in development initially as a treatment for recurrent vulvovaginal candidiasis caused by the pathogenic form of Candida albicans. Phase I trials were started in February. The firm says it is also considering broadening development of the vaccine to the treatment of oropharyngeal candidiasis. PEV7 comprises a recombinant virulence factor protein antigen from C. albicans, formulated using virosome technology. Pevion is initially developing the vaccine for intramuscular injection, but says it has separately developed a formulation for intravaginal mucosal application, and is evaluating whether a locally induced immune response results in improved efficacy.