Novavax and Collaborators Significantly Improve VLP Vaccine for HIV/AIDS

Plans Under Way to Advance New Vaccine Into Clinical Testing



Jan 16, 2007, 00:00 ET from Novavax Inc.

    ROCKVILLE, Md., Jan. 16 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Novavax Inc. (Nasdaq:  
 NVAX) said today that it has significantly enhanced both the quality and
 purity of its virus-like particle (VLP) vaccine for HIV/AIDS. Pre- clinical
 studies are under way using the improved HIV-1 vaccine, and planning has
 begun to advance the new vaccine to human clinical trials.
     Novavax is working in collaboration with scientists from the University
 of Alabama-Birmingham, Emory University and Harvard Medical School under
 funding from a grant from the National Institutes of Health.
     "This advance demonstrates the flexibility and broad applicability of
 our VLP platform technology and the skill of our development team in
 engineering customized vaccines," said Novavax President and Chief
 Executive Officer Dr. Rahul Singhvi. "After demonstrating immunogenicity in
 pre-clinical studies with our VLP vaccines for influenza, we are eager to
 develop VLP vaccines against other infectious diseases."
     Early versions of Novavax's HIV vaccine were successful in triggering
 immune responses in pre-clinical studies. However, Novavax scientists and
 its collaborators recently discovered a way to optimize the expression of
 the HIV- 1 envelope, which is a principle target for immunity in humans.
     "The scientific community has been searching for a way to create an
 HIV/AIDS vaccine based on the HIV-1 viral envelope with a natural three-
 dimensional structure to trigger a protective immune response," said Dr.
 Gale Smith, Novavax's Vice President of Vaccine Development.
     "A major scientific challenge we face is the genetic diversity of HIV.
 A VLP-based vaccine for HIV has the potential to be highly immunogenic due
 to the particle nature of the vaccine and, because its structure is
 correct, could lead to a vaccine protective against a much wider diversity
 of viruses," he said.
     Virus-like particles mimic the natural virus in structure but do not
 contain a virus's genetic material required for replication or infection.
 When inoculated into the body, these particles have the ability to trigger
 strong immune responses that are capable of protecting against viral
 infection.
     According to the World Health Organization, an estimated 39.5 million
 people worldwide are infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, and
 last year alone 2.9 million people died of AIDS-related illnesses. Public
 health officials agree that an effective vaccine will be the best way to
 halt the AIDS epidemic.
     ABOUT NOVAVAX
     Novavax Inc. is committed to leading the global fight against
 infectious disease by creating novel, highly potent vaccines that are safer
 and more effective than current preventive options. Using the company's
 proprietary virus-like particle (VLP) and Novasome(R) adjuvant
 technologies, Novavax is developing vaccines to protect against H5N1
 pandemic influenza, seasonal flu and other viral diseases. Novavax's
 particulate vaccines closely match disease-causing viruses while lacking
 the genetic material to cause disease, which provides potential for greater
 immune protection at lower doses than current vaccines. With an exclusive
 portable manufacturing system that allows for rapid mass-production of
 vaccines, Novavax is uniquely positioned to meet global public health
 needs.
     Forward-Looking Statements
     Statements herein relating to future financial or business performance,
 conditions or strategies and other financial and business matters,
 including expectations regarding future revenues, operating expenses, and
 clinical developments are forward-looking statements within the meaning of
 the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act. Novavax cautions that these
 forward-looking statements are subject to numerous assumptions, risks and
 uncertainties, which change over time. Factors that may cause actual
 results to differ materially from the results discussed in the
 forward-looking statements or historical experience include risks and
 uncertainties, including the failure by Novavax to secure and maintain
 relationships with collaborators; risks relating to the early stage of
 Novavax's product candidates under development; uncertainties relating to
 clinical trials; risks relating to the commercialization, if any, of
 Novavax's proposed product candidates; dependence on the efforts of third
 parties; dependence on intellectual property; competition for clinical
 resources and patient enrollment from drug candidates in development by
 other companies with greater resources and visibility, and risks that we
 may lack the financial resources and access to capital to fund our
 operations. Further information on the factors and risks that could affect
 Novavax's business, financial conditions and results of operations, is
 contained in Novavax's filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange
 Commission, which are available at http://www.sec.gov. These
 forward-looking statements speak only as of the date of this press release,
 and Novavax assumes no duty to update forward- looking statements.
 
 

SOURCE Novavax Inc.