US-based vaccine development firm Protein Sciences has reached an agreement with Sinergium Biotech and Mundo Sano to co-develop a new vaccine against the Zika virus.

Through using Protein Sciences’ proprietary technology, the companies will develop the vaccine based on recombinant variations of the E protein from the Zika virus.

Protein Sciences has produced similar vaccine candidates against West Nile virus and Japanese encephalitis virus, which were shown to neutralise their respective viruses in preclinical studies.

Protein Sciences president and CEO Manon Cox said: "We are very pleased to partner with Sinergium Biotech and Mundo Sano on our Zika vaccine. Their focus on vaccine development and manufacturing make them a natural fit for the adoption of our technology.

"Sinergium’s proximity to the heart of the outbreak opens up channels of support that would otherwise be inaccessible."

"We initiated Zika vaccine development in February and are rapidly advancing vaccine candidates to the clinic. Sinergium’s proximity to the heart of the outbreak opens up channels of support that would otherwise be inaccessible."

As per the agreed terms, Sinergium will fund the development of the vaccine being produced at Protein Sciences.

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Sinergium will in turn receive manufacturing and commercial rights to the vaccine in Argentina and other counties to be determined.

The companies also said they are in active discussions with additional strategic partners worldwide, which could strengthen and rapidly advance the development programme.

Sinergium Biotech president and CEO Alejandro Gil said: "This is an important step for our country to prevent Zika, and an important step for our company that is committed to developing different vaccines for the public health, both safely and rapidly."

"We are also very enthusiastic to cooperate with Protein Sciences. Their great scientific technology and quality standards led to previous approvals of their influenza products within markets including FDA."