Next-generation malaria vaccine to begin Phase I trials

Two of the world’s leading pharmaceutical firms recently announced plans to collaborate on the testing of a next-generation malaria vaccine.

GlaxoSmithKline and Johnson & Johnson will begin Phase I/IIa clinical trials of a “prime-boost” vaccine within the next few months through the newly acquired Dutch unit Crucell, according to Reuters.

"If everything goes well, we would be able to start during the summer," Christian Loucq, director of the PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative, said, Reuters reports. MVI is non-profit organization that will be working with both companies.

GSK’s first-generation malaria vaccine, known as RTS,S or Mosquirix, is expected to reach the market in 2015. It is approximately 50 percent effective.

The new vaccine treatment will be a combination of the current GSK vaccine combined with an engineered common cold virus that Crucell developed, Reuters reports. The mixture is intended to trigger a stronger immune response. Patients will first receive a single dose of Crucell’s cold virus, followed by a two-dose series of RTS,S.

"This new collaboration, though in the early stages, gives us the opportunity to test an approach with the potential to substantially increase efficacy and move us closer to the internationally agreed goal of an 80 percent effective second-generation vaccine by 2025," Loucq said, Reuters reports.