Finland-based FIT Biotech has developed a new vaccine for the treatment of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).
The new vaccine will be tested in hundreds of HIV patients in a large clinical trial, which is scheduled to start towards the end of the first quarter of 2014.
The trial will evaluate the new vaccine’s efficacy at lowering the viral load of current HIV patients, in combination with AIDS medication.
Going by data from previous tests, the vaccine is expected to have the ability to stop the HIV infection from progressing, or even help patients free their bodies of the infection completely.
According to FIT Biotech CEO Kalevi Reijonen, the company is collaborating with two European universities and one or two US-based pharmaceutical firms to test the vaccine in a study that will last two to three years.
More than 1,000 patients across Switzerland and France will be part of the trial and its first phase will involve hundreds of HIV patients.
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The company said that participant numbers in the trial will increase as the programme progresses.
Following completion of the trial, applications will be made to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the European Medicines Agency (EMA) to authorise marketing of the new drug.
If testing is successful, the vaccine is expected to be approved and will be made available within five years.
The drug related medical treatment of an HIV-patient in an industrialised country currently costs some €10,000-€15,000 per year, which could be reduced to around a tenth of that figure with vaccination.
The company will license production of the vaccine to a partner and expects it to generate advance payments and attract royalties.
FIT Biotech is focused in the development and commercialisation of its proprietary Gene Transport Unit (GTU) technology and GTU product applications in DNA vaccination, as well as in immuno and gene therapies.
According to the company, its GTU technology is also suitable for use as a preventive HIV vaccine.
GTU technology refers to the company’s patented method involving genes being safely introduced into the body.