NOVAVAX ANNOUNCES PROGRESS ON PANDEMIC FLU VACCINE
U.S.-based Novavax announced this week that its virus-like particle (VLP) vaccines have been shown to be effective in generating protection against pandemic influenza as well as cross protection against different strains of the virus in preclinical studies.
The studies involved two of Novavax's H5N1 influenza VLP vaccines one targeting the Indonesia strain of pandemic flu, first identified in 2005, and another targeting the Vietnam strain, identified in 2003. When challenged with the Indonesia and Vietnam strains, mice and ferrets were protected against both viruses. In addition, mice inoculated with the Vietnam strain of the VLP vaccine were protected from that strain as well as from the Indonesian strain.
Last week the U.S. government awarded three companies a total of $132.5 million in contracts for the development of pandemic flu vaccines. The department is providing five-year contracts to GlaxoSmithKline and Novartis Vaccines and Diagnostics, along with a 15-month contract to Iomai, to develop vaccines that use an adjuvant, an immune system booster.
After the HHS announcement, Novavax released a statement saying that its pandemic influenza vaccine program is progressing as planned and would not be affected by the latest round of government funding.
"As we have stated previously, the development
plan for our pandemic influenza vaccine
candidate is not dependent upon government funding," Novavax President and CEO Rahul Singhvi said. "We have sufficient financial and scientific resources to advance this program, and we are committed to moving this program into human clinical trials in mid-2007 as planned."