Ellen Cole, 206.285.3500, email@example.com.
Washington, DC, September 6, 2006—PATH and Intercell AG have announced a new partnership to advance the development of a promising vaccine against pneumonia in low-income countries. PATH will provide US$7.3 million and work with Intercell on the preclinical development of its protein-based pneumococcal vaccine candidate in preparation for Phase 1 clinical trials. PATH’s pneumococcal vaccine development program is supported by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Streptococcus pneumoniae, or “pneumococcus,” causes pneumonia, killing nearly one million children under age five each year. It also causes meningitis (brain infection) and sepsis (blood infection), which kill and disable children worldwide. Pneumococcus has over 90 serotypes, which vary by region. The current pneumococcal conjugate vaccine, which includes the 7 serotypes most common in the United States, could provide substantial protection to children in the developing world in the near term. Ultimately, additional vaccines are needed to broaden the strain coverage and increase the vaccine availability to children in low-income countries.
PATH is pursuing a number of approaches to develop pneumococcal vaccines that will be effective and affordable in the countries that most urgently need them. The pneumococcal development program at PATH is reaching out to partner with a wide array of scientists and manufacturers to advance their research and shorten the timeline for developing vaccines to serve the countries in greatest need.
“Intercell’s innovative protein-based vaccine is a promising candidate for protecting children in the developing world,” notes Dr. John Boslego, director of pneumococcal vaccine development at PATH. “We are particularly interested in developing a vaccine containing proteins which are common to all pneumococcus serotypes because such a common protein vaccine could provide broad protection to children worldwide.”
Under the agreement announced today, PATH and Intercell will work together to complete the preclinical development of Intercell’s vaccine candidate. The ultimate goal of the partnership is to produce a vaccine that will be affordable for distribution by public health systems in developing countries.
“We are delighted that PATH, after an extensive review of the field, has selected our vaccine as one of the most promising novel approaches to prevent Streptococcus pneumoniae infection. The experience and commitment of PATH will be an extremely valuable asset to Intercell, and we look forward to working with the group as we advance the project toward clinical trials,” states Gerd Zettlmeissl, CEO of Intercell AG.