Israeli firm BiondVax Pharmaceuticals is receiving a 4.87 million NIS (around $1.34 million) award from Israel's Chief Scientist in the Ministry of Economy (OCS) toward further development of its universal flu vaccine. BiondVax says this grant, which was awarded in accordance with Israeli law to promote research and development in the industry, will be used to promote the company's effort toward a Phase III trial for the vaccine. The funds will also be used to improve the vaccine's manufacturing process and prepare for its scale up for when it comes time to commercialize it.

The universal flu vaccine, according to BiondVax, is designed to protect people from most strains of seasonal and pandemic influenza by activating all parts of the immune system against conserved and common regions in most influenza virus strains. The company says it has received several grants from the OCS over the years toward development of the vaccine, totaling 15.7 million NIS (approximately $4.33 million) to date.

“In the last years OCS has expressed its repeated trust in our Universal Vaccine program and we enjoyed considerable financial support that led to our clinical successes,” Ron Babecoff, BiondVax' CEO, said in a statement. “This is another step in our journey to approve the first universal flu vaccine.”

Other companies that have received OCS grants in recent years include Pluristem, which obtained approximately $3.3 million to advance its pipeline last year, and Oramed Pharmaceuticals, which scored a grant of around $265,000 in May of 2013 to support further research and development of its oral insulin capsule (ORMD-0801) and oral exenatide capsule (ORMD-0901) throughout that year. 

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