GAITHERSBURG, Md., April 21, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- GenVec, Inc. (NASDAQ: GNVC) today announced that it has signed a research collaboration agreement with the Laboratory of Malaria Immunology and Vaccinology (LMIV) of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health.
The research collaboration will utilize GenVec's proprietary gorilla adenovirus vectors to deliver a number of novel antigens discovered at the LMIV in order to create and test a variety of malaria vaccine candidates. GenVec will construct vaccine candidates at its laboratories and hand them off to LMIV's Vaccine Development Unit, which is headed by Patrick E. Duffy, M.D., for preclinical testing.
The focus of this joint approach is to devise vaccines that block the transmission of the deadliest malaria-causing parasite, Plasmodium falciparum, by triggering the production of antibodies that are taken up by a mosquito when it bites a vaccinated individual. This differentiated approach launches an attack on the parasite while it is in its mosquito carrier and could potentially help stop the spread of the disease to subsequent bite victims.
"We are very excited to take our program to the next level through this collaboration and to have the opportunity to work with Dr. Duffy and his team on an innovative malaria transmission-blocking vaccine strategy. We believe that our gorilla adenovectors may prove to be particularly useful for this specific approach given previous data which shows that they can induce a very robust immune response to expressed antigens," said Douglas E. Brough, Ph.D., GenVec's chief scientific officer.
The World Health Organization notes that about 3.2 billion people – almost half of the world's population – are at risk of malaria. In 2013, there were about 198 million malaria cases (with an uncertainty range of 124 million to 283 million) and an estimated 584,000 malaria deaths (with an uncertainty range of 367,000 to 755,000).
The LMIV was created in 2009 to conduct basic and applied research relevant to malaria immunology and vaccine development, to pursue novel vaccine concepts, or produce prototype malaria vaccines, and to conduct early-phase clinical trials of promising vaccine candidates. Its overarching goal is to develop malaria vaccines that will reduce severe disease and death among African children and pregnant women and will eliminate malaria from low-transmission areas of the world.
GenVec is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company with an entrepreneurial focus on leveraging its proprietary adenovector gene delivery platform to develop a pipeline of cutting-edge therapeutics and vaccines. The company is a pioneer in the design, testing and manufacture of adenoviral-based product candidates that can deliver on the promise of gene-based medicine. GenVec's lead product candidate, CGF166, is licensed to Novartis and is currently in a Phase 1/2 clinical study for the treatment of hearing loss and balance disorders. In addition to our internal and partnered pipeline, we also focus on opportunities to license our proprietary technology platform, including vectors and production cell lines, for the development and manufacture of therapeutics and vaccines to the biopharmaceutical industry. Additional information about GenVec is available at www.genvec.com and in the company's various filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Statements herein relating to future financial or business performance, conditions or strategies and other financial and business matters, including with respect to the transition of GenVec's business focus, are forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act. GenVec 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, such as the failure of Novartis to advance GenVec's hearing loss and balance disorders program. Further information on the factors and risks that could affect GenVec's business, financial conditions and results of operations, are contained in GenVec's filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which are available at www.sec.gov. These forward-looking statements speak only as of the date of this press release, and GenVec assumes no duty to update forward-looking statements.
SOURCE GenVec, Inc.