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GEN News Highlights : May 4, 2010

GlycoVaxyn and Brigham and Women’s Win $3.4M to Develop S. aureus Vaccine

Second-generation product expected to provide broad protection against a range of bacterial strains.

GlycoVaxyn and researchers at Harvard Medical School’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital received $3.4 million in NIH funding to support preclinical development of a biconjugate vaccine against Staphylococcus aureus infections.

The vaccine will exploit GlycoVaxyn’s proprietary technology and comprise staphylococcal surface polysaccharides conjugated in vivo to conserved protein antigens from S. aureus. A first-generation of the vaccine is already in development by GlycoVaxyn and is expected to start in clinical trials by late 2011.

Development of a new generation of the vaccine builds on a long-standing collaboration between GlycoVaxyn and Brigham and Women’s. “GlycoVaxyn’s first-generation S. aureus biconjugate vaccine has shown protective efficacy in preclinical studies, remarked Jean Lee, Ph.D., grant recipient at Brigham and Women’s. The new generation vaccine is expected to give broader protection against a variety of S. aureus strain.”

The new vaccine comprises capsular polysaccharide type 5 or 8 from S. aureus, conjugated to a staphylococcal protein carrier. GlycoVaxyn claims that while current approaches to generating conjugate vaccines are complex, unreliable, and expensive, its E. coli-based technology provides a more efficient, controlled approach to producing complex immunologic conjugates.

The firm says estimates suggest nosocomial infections, which are often caused by S. aureus, account for an estimated $5 billion in additional healthcare-related costs every year, with some 1 million infections and 100,000 deaths occurring in U.S. hospitals alone during 2007.

GlycoVaxyn is leveraging its biconjugate vaccine technology to develop a pipeline of products against serious infections. In February the firm started its first Phase I trial with its GVXN SD133 vaccine candidate against Shigella dysenteriae. The company’s pipeline also includes a multivalent vaccine against Shigella flexneri serotypes and Shigella sonnei, and a vaccine targeting N. neningitides.