CMC Biologics announces agreement on placental malaria vaccine

CMC Biologics, a biopharmaceutical manufacturing and development organization, announced on Tuesday that it entered into an agreement with the University of Copenhagen to develop and produce a placental malaria vaccine.

CMC Biologics will use its technical expertise and experience in process development and current good manufacturing practices manufacturing to develop a vaccine from the VAR2CSA antigen. Scientists at the University of Copenhagen discovered VAR2CSA, an antigen that enables parasite accumulation in the placenta with the potential to significantly reduce the effects of the malaria parasite. VAR2CSA works by eliminating malaria itself, as opposed to solely targeting the infection.

"Through collaborations like this, we have the opportunity to make a real difference in a disease with major global health implications by helping to take the program into human clinical trials," Gustavo Mahler, the global chief operations officer of CMC Biologics, said. "We are supportive of the committed research conducted by the University of Copenhagen and its collaborators, and pleased to be selected for this next phase of clinical development."

The VAR2CSA vaccine antigen will be produced using an insect cell-based recombinant protein expression platform, ExpreS2. The platform was developed by a partner of the University of Copenhagen in placental malaria vaccine development.

CMC Biologics will help provide cGMP grade clinical material to the university for upcoming clinical trials.

"This is the first clinical trial using parasite antigens that causes severe disease syndromes and we believe CMC Biologics' experience and technical leadership will help us to reach our clinical milestones," Thor Theander, a professor from the Centre for Medical Parasitology at the University of Copenhagen, said. "We are pleased to be entering into clinical studies to determine potential safety and efficacy of a vaccine which has the potential to help pregnant women and their unborn children."

According to the World Health Organization, placental malaria causes 20,000 maternal and 200,000 infant deaths every year.