Profectus BioSciences receives $5.6M grant for Nipah/Hendra vaccine

Profectus Biosciences, Inc., a technology-based vaccine developer, announced on Wednesday that it has received a $5.6 million grant to support the preclinical development of a human vaccine against the Hendra and Nipah virus infections.

The grant comes under the Partnerships for Biodefense RFA from the Division of Microbiology and Infectious Diseases of the National Institutes of Health's National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. The award supports developing a Hendra virus soluble G as the vaccine against the two closely related paramyxoviruses.

Nipah virus and Hendra virus both cause respiratory and encephalitis disease in humans. Infections in humans occur after being exposed to secretions and tissues from infected bats, pigs, horses or contaminated food products. There is no currently approved vaccine against either virus and death occurs in 75 percent of cases.

Christopher C. Broder at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences out of Bethesda, Md., created the HeV-sG in his laboratory. Broder and collaborators from CSIRO AAHL in Geelong, Australia, showed the potential of the vaccine in animal models. Non-human primate efficacy studies were undertaken in collaboration with Thomas Geisbert of the Galveston National Laboratory of the University of Texas Medical Branch. Profectus is collaborating with the researchers to develop the HeV-sG subunit vaccine for use in humans.