Emergent BioSolutions, Inc., showcases TB vaccine

A joint delegation of members of the European Parliament and representatives from the Oxford-Emergent Tuberculosis Consortium recently visited Emergent BioSolutions, Inc.'s advanced tuberculosis vaccine trial site.

The MVA85A vaccine is the world's most clinically advanced tuberculosis vaccine candidate in development. It is currently being studied as part of a phase IIb infant efficacy clinical trial. The trial is being conducted by the University of Cape Town's South African Tuberculosis Vaccine Initiative in partnership with OETC and Aeras.

"Emergent BioSolutions is proud to be part of OETC, a joint venture established with the University of Oxford in 2008, to further develop the most clinically advanced investigational TB vaccine," Allen Shofe, an OETC board member and senior vice president of corporate affairs at Emergent BioSolutions, Inc., said. "This collaboration is an integral part of a multi-pronged approach to alleviating the global burden of tuberculosis. Through our involvement in OETC, Emergent is given an opportunity to touch the lives of many in fulfillment of our company mission - to protect life."

The members of the European Parliament were able to learn firsthand about the TB vaccine candidate and the progress of the clinical trial from the University of Oxford's Dr. Helen McShane, the project's lead scientist and developer.

"We are extremely pleased with the progress of the trial," Dr. McShane said. "We anticipate that the trial, which involves administering MVA85A as a booster to the BCG vaccine, will reach the enrollment target of 2,784 infants by the end of April 2011. The follow-up period and study results are expected to be completed in 2012."

The delegation was also afforded the opportunity to observe the vaccination of infants as part of the trial and visited hospital facilities with Dr. Hassan Mahomed, SATVI's principal investigator on the study.

"I am very anxious to see a new TB vaccine licensed and I am delighted that this trial of this promising new vaccine candidate is taking place," Michael Cashman, chairman of the South Africa Delegation of the European Parliament, said. "It is vital for South Africa that a new vaccine is developed as soon as possible, especially for infants and those with HIV. If this trial is successful, South Africa will benefit and so will the rest of the world. Too many lives are lost to tuberculosis and I am pleased to see so many public and private bodies coming together to deliver what could be the first new TB vaccine in 90 years."