CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Genocea Biosciences, a vaccine discovery and development company, announced Feb. 23 that it has licensed an extensive patent estate from the University of Washington and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center for 25 pending and issued patents related to herpes simplex virus type 2 antigens.
The addition of these patents, the Genocea said in a press release, complements the novel antigens discovered by its unique and proprietary antigen discovery technology. The combination of Genocea’s intellectual property with the patent estate from the University of Washington provides the company with a broad compendium of HSV antigen patents.
"This license, secured from the world’s leading academic laboratory focused on HSV antigen discovery, provides us a key strategic advantage and further strengthens our position as a leader in the area of HSV vaccine development," said Staph Leavenworth Bakali, president and CEO of Genocea. "We have made significant progress in the development of a vaccine for HSV and believe this broad intellectual property portfolio will enable us to further expand our vaccine research and development in this area."
In the United States, at least 45 million people ages 12 and older, or one out of five adolescents and adults, have had a genital HSV infection*and the estimated economic burden on health care costs is more than $1 billion**. Approximately one out of four women and almost one out of eight men are infected with genital HSV-2. Genital herpes is a sexually transmitted disease caused by the herpes simplex viruses HSV-1 or HSV-2, and in extreme cases, can appear in and about the eyes, esophagus, trachea, brain, and arms and legs.
HSV has a great impact on human health globally because of its high prevalence, successful sexual transmissibility rate, association with patients with compromised immune systems, and its ability to recur, the press release noted.
There is no vaccine approved today to treat or prevent HSV-2.