Eileen Quinn, PATH, 202.454.5005, email@example.com
Megan Dubrowski (media), Richard Lewis Communications, Inc., 212.827.0020, firstname.lastname@example.org
Cecelia Heer (investors), Richard Lewis Communications, Inc., 212.827.0020, email@example.com.
Seattle, WA, and Gaithersburg, MD, December 4, 2008—The biotech company Lentigen Corporation and the nonprofit global health organization PATH announced today a partnership to accelerate research on a pandemic influenza vaccine. PATH will initially invest $3 million over 27 months and work with Lentigen on early-stage development of a H5N1 virus-like particle (VLP) prototype pandemic influenza vaccine.
With global health leaders increasingly concerned about the possibility of an influenza pandemic, PATH is working with public- and private-sector partners to advance the development of new, safe, and effective influenza vaccines that can be produced quickly and economically in large quantities to combat a global influenza pandemic, especially in low-income countries.
Vaccines based on VLPs can overcome many of the limitations of traditional influenza vaccines by offering highly immunogenic, strain-specific recombinant antigens that can be produced economically and at large scale. VLPs are self-assembling particles that can be made in cell culture, avoiding the need to rely on limited egg supplies for vaccine production. The Lentigen process may have unique advantages by producing high yields of VLPs in a portable and disposable manufacturing system.
“We are delighted to partner with Lentigen,” commented Dr. Kathleen Neuzil, director of PATH’s Influenza Vaccine Development Project. “Lentigen’s technology is versatile and economical, and could be transferred to manufacturers in multiple locations to achieve our goal of developing a pandemic influenza vaccine to meet the needs of people in low-resource countries.”
“The rapid development, production, and distribution of pandemic influenza vaccines could potentially save millions of lives in parts of the world that may not otherwise have access to an effective vaccine,” noted Tim Ravenscroft, CEO of Lentigen. “We are excited to be working with PATH and applying Lentigen’s VLP technology to combat one of the major infectious disease threats to the human population.”
PATH is pursuing multiple vaccine strategies that could produce much greater quantities of vaccine at a price affordable in developing countries. In addition to helping with pandemic preparedness, new vaccines could also address the high burden of annual or seasonal influenza, which annually causes between three and five million cases of severe illness and up to 500,000 deaths worldwide.
Lentigen Corporation is a privately owned diversified biologics company focused on the development and commercialization of breakthrough treatments for human disease. The company’s development programs, which are based on its proprietary lentiviral RNA delivery technology, include novel cell, vaccine, and protein therapeutics. Lentigen manufactures and supplies research products based on this technology to the academic, government, and biopharmaceutical research communities through its collaborations with ThermoFisher Scientific and Invitrogen. Lentigen has a broad range of research collaborations including those with the US National Institutes of Health, the University of Pennsylvania, Case Western Reserve University, Emory University, and the US Army. For more information, please visit www.lentigen.com.