Swiss biotechnology company Mymetics has been selected by PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative (MVI) to develop and produce virosome-based vaccine formulations for a malaria transmission blocking vaccine candidate.

Transmission blocking vaccine candidates seek to interrupt the life cycle of the parasite by inducing antibodies, preventing the parasite from maturing in the mosquito after it takes a blood meal from a vaccinated person.

Mymetics will provide its virosome technology platform and specialist virosome knowledge for the project.

The project will be carried out in partnership with the Laboratory of Malaria Immunology and Vaccinology (LMIV) of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

According to Mymetics, the new virosome vaccine candidates will each integrate two different malaria parasite proteins provided by LMIV and will be then separately tested in animal studies.

"Mymetics will provide its virosome technology platform and specialist virosome knowledge for the project."

The project is planned to commence this month, while preclinical results will be announced by early 2016. If the study is successful, the next step will be preparation for the clinical trials.

Studies will involve in the development of a transmission blocking virosome vaccine and also explore the possibilities to combine this vaccine with other malaria vaccine candidates that are focused on other aspects of preventing malaria.

Approximately 97 countries had ongoing malaria transmission in 2013, noted World Health Organisation (WHO).

MVI is a global programme that was established at PATH through an initial grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Its mission is to speed up the development of malaria vaccines and catalyse timely access in endemic countries.

Image: Very high magnification micrograph of maternal malaria. Photo: courtesy of Nephron.