The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), a division of the US National Institutes of Health, has awarded a four-year grant of over $3m to the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, US, for the characterisation and development of a recombinant chikungunya virus vaccine.
Inviragen, which recently signed an exclusive worldwide licence agreement with the University of Texas Medical Branch for the development of the vaccine, will receive over $1.5m for product development activities.
The chikungunya vaccine is undergoing pre-clinical testing by scientists at Inviragen, the University of Texas Medical Branch, the University of Wisconsin and the Division of Vector-Borne Diseases at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Inviragen co-founder and chief scientific officer Jorge Osorio said through their collaboration with these groups it has established the pre-clinical safety, immunogenicity and efficacy of the chikungunya vaccine candidate in multiple animal models.
“This grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases will partially fund efforts at the University of Texas Medical Branch and Inviragen to further characterise the vaccine, complete the remaining pre-clinical testing and manufacturing, and file an investigational new drug application with the US Food and Drug Administration to begin human clinical testing,” Osorio added.
The pre-clinical data demonstrating the safety and protective efficacy of the vaccine are published in the July 2011 issue of PLoS Pathogens.