Ebola vaccine proves highly efficacious in non-human primate study

All vaccinated animals given a lethal dose of the Ebola virus survive

Lloyd Dunlap
HALIFAX, Nova Scotia—Imunovaccine Inc., a clinical stage vaccine company, today announced positive results for a vaccine formulated in its DepoVax™ technology in an Ebola virus challenge study performed by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). In a preliminary study using cynomolgus monkeys, which are particularly sensitive to the Ebola virus, all vaccinated subjects survived exposure to a lethal dose of the wild-type Zaire strain of the virus. All unvaccinated control animals succumbed to the disease.
 
In this study four cynomolgus macaque subjects received two doses of the DepoVax-formulated vaccine, one at study initiation and a second on day 56. They were then challenged on day 70 with a lethal dose of the wild-type Zaire strain of the Ebola virus. The Zaire strain is believed to be the most lethal among Ebola viruses and is responsible for the current Ebola virus outbreak. More than two weeks following exposure to the virus, all vaccinated subjects were alive with no disease symptoms. The two control animals in this study succumbed to the infection within seven days.
 
This study, conducted under NIAID’s preclinical services program (HHSN272201200003I/ HHSN27200008, HHSN272201000006I/HHSN27200007), was designed to identify favorable vaccine candidates for further study. Based on this high efficacy observed in cynomolgus macaques, Immunovaccine is exploring a potential development program for an Ebola virus vaccine with various organizations.
 
“While the DepoVax technology is actively being developed for various infectious disease applications, this is the first time we have tested the platform as an enabling technology for an Ebola vaccine,” stated Marc Mansour, chief executive officer of Immunovaccine. “These preliminary results are encouraging and support the continued evaluation of an Ebola vaccine in DepoVax, potentially leading to a clinical study.”
 
The decision to test DepoVax for Ebola virus was prompted by the positive results produced previously with an anthrax vaccine under the same preclinical services program offered by NIAID. The ongoing anthrax studies with NIAID are intended to evaluate the potential of DepoVax to enable rapid protection against anthrax with a single dose. Independently, Immunovaccine is also preparing for a clinical trial with a DepoVax-based vaccine against respiratory syncytial virus planned for 2014.
 
DepoVax™ is a patented formulation that provides controlled and prolonged exposure of antigens plus adjuvant to the immune system, resulting in a strong, specific and sustained immune response with the potential for single-dose effectiveness. The DepoVax platform is flexible and can be used with a broad range of target antigens for preventive or therapeutic applications. The technology is designed to be commercially scalable, with the potential for years of shelf life stability.
 
Immunovaccine Inc. develops cancer immunotherapies and infectious disease vaccines based on the company’s DepoVax platform, a patented formulation that provides controlled and prolonged exposure of antigens and adjuvant to the immune system.
 
Cancer immunotherapy has long generated excitement for its potential as a key element of effective cancer treatments. This excitement reached new levels at the 2012 and 2013 annual meetings of the American Society of Clinical Oncology where positive data from numerous clinical studies of cancer immunotherapies was presented Among this presented data were results from a study of one of Immunovaccine’s clinical-stage cancer immunotherapies.
 
Cancer immunotherapies hold the greatest promise as adjuvant treatments, when tumor burden is low and the vaccine is used to eradicate minimal residual disease following first-line treatments. Most of these treatments are being developed with the expectation that they will be used in combinations with surgery, chemotherapy and radiation treatments to improve the current standards of care in treating cancer.
 
Immunovaccine is currently actively advancing two clinical-stage cancer immunotherapies based on the company’s novel DepoVax technology. Immunovaccine has advanced two T cell activation therapies for cancer through Phase 1 human clinical trials. Lead cancer vaccine therapy, DPX-Survivac, is expected to enter Phase 2 clinical studies in both ovarian cancer and glioblastoma (brain cancer).
 
The company is also advancing an infectious disease pipeline including innovative vaccines for respiratory syncytial virus and anthrax.

Lloyd Dunlap

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