Focus will be on infections including dengue fever, chikungunya, and hand, foot, and mouth disease.

Inviragen and the Duke-National University of Singapore (Duke-NUS) Graduate Medical School are setting up a research partnership they hope will help accelerate the development of vaccines against infectious diseases including dengue fever, chikungunya, and hand, foot, and mouth disease. One of the goals is to provide new insights into how emerging infectious diseases are transmitted as well as approaches to the prevention of their transmission.

“Scientists in the Duke-NUS Emerging Infectious Diseases Program are conducting world-class research into viral pathogenesis and host immunology, and are pioneering methods to improve detection of emerging viral pathogens,” remarks Joseph Santangelo, Ph.D., Inviragen COO. “By working with researchers at Duke-NUS, we hope to improve public health in Singapore and worldwide by preventing the spread of viral diseases with safe and effective vaccines.”  

Under terms of the memorandum of understanding between Inviragen and Duke-NUS, a joint management committee will oversee the collaboration including the initiation of clinical trials in Singapore to investigate vaccines designed to protect against dengue fever and hand, foot, and mouth disease.  

Inviragen is focused on the development of vaccines against emerging infectious diseases worldwide. The firm’s DENVax™ dengue fever vaccine began U.S. Phase I evaluation in May 2010, and a Phase I study in Colombia was initiated in October 2010 through a collaboration with the Program for the Study and Control of Tropical Diseases. Both these trials are investigating subcutaneous/intravenous administration of the candidate. In October 2010, Inviragen and PharmaJet were awarded a five-year, $15.5 million dollar contract by NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) to support the development of a needle-free dengue vaccine.

DENVax, which was originally developed by scientists at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and is being developed by Inviragen under an exclusive license agreement. The tetravalent combination vaccine comprises the original CDC-developed attenuated DEN-2 PDK-53 vaccine and each of the chimeric vaccines DEN-2/1, DEN-2/3, and DEN-2/4.

Inviragen’s preclinical pipeline includes candidates against hand, foot, and mouth disease and Japanese encephalitis, which it says are progressing towards clinical trials. Earlier preclinical-stage vaccines against West Nile virus, avian influenza virus, chikungunya, HPV, and plague/smallpox are also in development. The firm is based in Fort Collins, Colorado, and has vaccine development operations in Singapore and vaccine testing facilities in Madison, Wisconsin.

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