H1N1 vaccine enhancer shows promise

Officials with SciClone Pharmaceuticals and its partner. Sigma-Tau S.p.A., recently announced the final results from the clinical trial of ZADAXIN, an H1N1 vaccine enhancer.

Researchers with the companies reported that H1N1 vaccines given in conjunction with ZADAXIN treatment led to significant increases in seroconversion.

The researchers define seroconversion as the increase of antibody titers against H1N1. A higher seroconversion rate equates to a more robust immune system response. According to the study results, when evaluated at 84 and 168 days after vaccination, the seroconversion rates were similar for patients receiving ZADAXIN treatment and those receiving vaccine alone.

Dr. Israel Rios, SciClone's Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer, said the study was a success.

"We are pleased by the results of this study which demonstrate that ZADAXIN provides a significant and rapid enhancement benefit to the H1N1 vaccine during the critical first six weeks following vaccination,” Rios said. “Seroconversion during these early post-vaccination time points is crucial as it provides patients with a significant protective benefit. We believe this ability to trigger rapid seroconversion as compared to vaccine alone demonstrates the powerful benefit ZADAXIN may provide not only in combination with the H1N1 vaccine but with a variety of other important vaccines as well.”

The researchers also think that ZADAXIN may be useful in enhancing other vaccines, too.

“Based on these promising study results and our belief that the beneficial effect of ZADAXIN may extend to vaccines targeting other types of infections and diseases, including cancer, we plan to continue our ongoing dialogue with bio-defense agencies and related groups to determine which vaccines they believe would benefit from enhancement,” Friedhelm Blobel, SciClone's president and CEO, said. “While our initial study of ZADAXIN as a vaccine enhancer focused on the H1N1 virus, we believe the product's utility may extend well beyond this initial area of investigation.”