Murdoch Childrens Research Institute and PATH announce new partnership to produce rotavirus vaccine candidate for clinical trials

September 2, 2008 by PATH

Kylie Skotnicki, Murdoch Childrens Research Institute, +613.8341.6433,
Allison Clifford, PATH, +,

Collaboration will support development of the RV3 vaccine candidate against leading cause of severe diarrheal disease in children

Melbourne, Australia, and Seattle, WA, September 2, 2008—Murdoch Childrens Research Institute (MCRI) and PATH have announced a new partnership to support the further development of the MCRI rotavirus vaccine candidate, RV3. PATH will provide up to US$350,000 to assist MCRI in the production of clinical trial lots of RV3 under Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) at Meridian Life Science in Memphis, Tennessee, in preparation for Phase 1 and 2 clinical trials to be conducted by MCRI.

Rotavirus infection is the leading cause of severe dehydrating diarrheal illness and deaths in infants and young children worldwide. The lethal combination of rotavirus infection and malnutrition causes millions of children to suffer serious illness and is responsible for more than 500,000 deaths per year, predominantly in developing countries.

Nearly every child in the world, regardless of income level or geographic location, will contract rotavirus at least once before the age of three. Because of limited access to health care, children in the poorest countries consistently account for more than 90 percent of rotavirus deaths. Vaccination offers the best hope for reducing the toll of rotavirus disease.

”PATH is pleased to collaborate with MCRI on the further development of the RV3 vaccine,” commented Dr. Georges Thiry, director of PATH’s Advancing Rotavirus Vaccine Development project. “RV3 represents a promising approach in the fight against rotavirus, and MCRI’s clinical trials will provide critical evidence to advance the development of this potential tool.”

The RV3 vaccine candidate was developed from a strain of rotavirus that was discovered in babies at a newborn nursery in Melbourne, Australia. Babies who were naturally infected with the RV3 strain had no symptoms and were protected from contracting rotavirus disease in the first three years of life.

“This vaccine candidate was created from a strain of the natural infection found in healthy babies, but provides protection from disease due to rotavirus infection later in life, making it an ideal vaccine candidate to provide protection from birth,” said Professor Julie Bines of the University of Melbourne and MCRI. “Our vaccine could offer a major boost for global efforts to reduce death and suffering due to rotavirus gastroenteritis in children worldwide.”

About Murdoch Childrens Research Institute

Murdoch Childrens Research Institute is Australia’s largest and most prestigious child health institute. Its staff work side by side with the doctors and nurses at Melbourne’s Royal Children’s Hospital and have a unique opportunity to make discoveries and translate them into real benefits for children. The team of 1,100 passionate researchers conduct innovative, world class research into a wide range of conditions affecting children, including asthma, premature birth, cancer, depression, genetic conditions, obesity, and infectious diseases. For more information, please visit Murdoch Childrens Research Institute's website.