Pfenex receives subcontract for malaria antigen production process

Pfenex, Inc., a San Diego-based biotechnology company, announced on Tuesday that it received a subcontract to develop a robust, scalable, current good manufacturing practices-ready production process for large-scale production of a blood-stage malaria antigen.

Leidos Holdings, Inc., awarded Pfenex the subcontract for the Plasmodium falciparum reticulocyte-binding homologue V production process. The contract is the result of successful pre-clinical studies performed by collaborators of Leidos to analyze the Rh5 antigen produced using the Pfenex Expression Technology platform. The subcontract was funded with federal funds using a Leidos contract from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

"We are pleased to be awarded this contract as we expand our effort to find an effective therapy for malaria," Bertrand Liang, the CEO of Pfenex, said. "Pfenex Expression Technology has once again demonstrated its ability to efficiently produce a high-value, complex protein enabling the potential of a multivalent malaria vaccine."

Pfenex will immediately begin activities for process development while providing materials to the NIAID and Leidos for ongoing preclinical studies.

"Working with Pfenex and NIAID on this program is an important step in the development of an effective malaria vaccine," James Pannucci, the vice president of the Leidos Health Life Sciences team, said. "We hope our work will lead to new discoveries and have a profound effect on the world's health."