Clinical stage biopharmaceutical company Genocea Biosciences, Inc., announced on Tuesday that it received a $1.2 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to identify protective T cell antigens for malaria vaccines.
The grant extends Genocea's existing collaboration with the Gates Foundation through 2015 and will support screening of the malaria proteome to identify targets of protective T cell responses.
"We've made good progress with our malaria program and are delighted to extend our collaboration with the Gates Foundation," Jessica Baker Flechtner, the senior vice president of research at Genocea, said. "It is a testament to the power of ATLAS, our proprietary T cell target discovery platform, that we can seek to tackle this complex and devastating global disease."
The ATLAS platform allows Genocea to harness the power of T cell immunity to rapidly develop medicines. Multiple clinical stage trials of T cell-enabled Genocea products are currently ongoing, including GEN-003 for HSV-2 therapy and GEN-004 to prevent infections caused by pneumococcus. Other earlier-stage programs addressed chlamydia, malaria and cancer immunotherapy.
More than 600 million cases of malaria were reported worldwide in 2012, resulting in more than 600,000 deaths, according to the World Health Organization.
There is currently no licensed vaccine to prevent malaria.