Universal flu vaccine begins Phase I testing

Dynavax Technologies Corporation has recently begun Phase I human testing of its universal influenza vaccine.

In all, 39 people were injected with the vaccine in early June, according to the San Francisco Business Times. The subjects were to receive a second dose one month later. Scientists are looking at drug safety and immunogenicity in these early tests.

The drug, known now as N8295, is intended to protect against different strains of influenza as well as help existing flu vaccines increase their efficacy.

Under a 2008 deal, Dynavax receives the influenza vaccines it uses to make N8295 from Novartis Vaccines and Diagnostics, Inc., San Francisco Business Times reports.

Novartis has an option to negotiate a joint development agreement for Dynavax’s universal influenza vaccine and is obligated to provide commercial supplies of the vaccine once clinical proof-of-concept has been provided. A study to establish proof-of-concept is scheduled for 2011.

Dynavax, located in Berkeley, Calif., is known for its Hepatitis B vaccine, which is currently in Phase 3 clinical trials. It also has hepatitis B and C therapies in Phase I testing. Rhein Biotech, its European subsidiary, is developing a hepatitis B surface antigen for HEPLISAV. Dynavax also partners with pharmaceutical heavyweights GlaxoSmithKline and AstraZeneca on other projects.