GlycoVaxyn receives NIH grant for Staphylococcus aureus vaccine study

GlycoVaxyn AG and Professor Jean Lee, principal investigator at the Channing Laboratory, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, announced on May 4 that they received a $ 3.4 million U.S. Food and Drug Administration NIH grant to finance pre-clinical development of a Staphylococcus aureus vaccine.

Infections caused by S. aureus are a major concern in hospital settings, Lee said, and account for an estimated $5 billion in additional healthcare costs. In 2007, there were approximately two million S. aureus infections and 100,000 associated deaths in U.S. hospitals alone, making the infections one of the leading overall causes of death. Lee said stopping such infections is an important task for healthcare providers to reduce the burden of disease.

GlycoVaxyn officials said staphylococcal surface polysaccharides will be conjugated in vivo to conserve protein antigens from S. aureus. The vaccine will then be examined in different animal models of S. aureus infection.

“GlycoVaxyn’s first generation S. aureus bioconjugate vaccine has shown protective efficacy in preclinical studies," Lee said. "The new generation vaccine is expected to give broader protection against a variety of S. aureus strains."

Lee also noted that GlycoVaxyn and the Brigham and Women’s Hospital have a long standing collaboration on this project and that the NIH funding will accelerate the development of potential vaccine candidates.

GlycoVaxyn, which started phase I clinical trials with a bioconjugate vaccine against Shigella dysenteriae early this year, is expecting to start a clinical trial with its first generation S. aureus vaccine by late 2011.

“Our bioconjugation technology allows us a very flexible and powerful approach to multivalent vaccine development, coupling polysaccharide to protein antigens in a strictly controlled way,” Dr. Michael Wacker, CSO and founder of GlycoVaxyn, said. “This grant confirms the potential of this approach and will allow extensive preclinical evaluation of the novel vaccine.”