Supported by Contract from U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)
ATLANTA, GA, March 04, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- via NEWMEDIAWIRE -- GeoVax Labs, Inc. (GOVX), a biotechnology company developing human vaccines, announced today that it has expanded its collaboration activities with Leidos, Inc. to develop malaria vaccine candidates. The work will be supported under a contract to Leidos from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Malaria Vaccine Development Program (MVDP). Leidos has been tasked by USAID to advance promising vaccine candidates against P. falciparum malaria and selected the GeoVax MVA-VLP platform as part of this development effort.
GeoVax’s vaccine technology is based on its live Modified Vaccinia Ankara (MVA) platform, which generates vaccine antigens, in the form of multimeric proteins or noninfectious VLPs, in the individual being vaccinated. Gene sequences of target antigens are inserted into the MVA genome which drives their expression and budding from the infected cells. In this way, vaccination strategy mimics a natural viral infection which induces two pools of proteins – virus-infected cells and released multimeric or VLP proteins.
Farshad Guirakhoo, PhD, GeoVax’s Chief Scientific Officer, commented, “Currently there is a shortage of malaria vaccine candidates that can offer the high efficacy rates (e.g. >75%) set by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a requirement for the second-generation malaria vaccines. Although protein-derived vaccines can deliver multiple antigens in immunogenic VLP conformation, they hardly produce a balanced functional cellular immune response needed to confer a high protection. In contrast, vectored-derived live vaccines are capable of producing the appropriate balanced immune responses, but they suffer from limitations in delivering the required number of transgenes needed to protect against all stages of malaria parasite. GeoVax’s MVA-VLP platform can overcome both limitations of antigen conformation and transgene capacity by delivering multiple transgenes (e.g. from parasite’s liver stage, blood stage and mosquito stage) in the form of VLPs delivered in vivo. This new collaboration with Leidos complements our ongoing malaria vaccine development project with Burnet Institute in Australia and offers multiple opportunities for success.”
David Dodd, GeoVax’s President and CEO, said, “We are delighted to broaden our relationship with Leidos to include malaria vaccines. This remains a significant unmet healthcare need and we believe that this collaboration has the potential to result in a significant improvement in this critical area. Our hope is to successfully proceed through product development and identify promising vaccine candidates that can be taken into clinical development as quickly as possible, demonstrating an effective, safe vaccine for malaria prevention. We are confident that our technology, combined with Leidos' has an excellent chance for success.”
GeoVax Labs, Inc., is a clinical-stage biotechnology company developing human vaccines against infectious diseases using its MVA-VLP vaccine platform. GeoVax was the winner of the 2018 “Best Biotech” Vaccine Industry Excellence Awards, a finalist for the 2018 “Best Prophylactic Vaccine” Award for its Zika vaccine at the World Vaccine Congress, as well as a finalist for Pipelines of Promise at Buzz of Bio 2018. The Company’s development programs are focused on vaccines against HIV, Zika, hemorrhagic fever viruses (Ebola, Sudan, Marburg, Lassa) and malaria. GeoVax also is evaluating the use of its MVA-VLP platform in cancer immunotherapy, and for therapeutic use in chronic Hepatitis B infections. GeoVax’s vaccine platform supports in vivo production of non-infectious VLPs from the cells of the very person receiving the vaccine. The production of VLPs in the person being vaccinated mimics virus production in a natural infection, stimulating both the humoral and cellular arms of the immune system to recognize, prevent, and control the target infection. For more information, visit www.geovax.com.
Leidos is a Fortune 500® information technology, engineering, and science solutions and services leader working to solve the world’s toughest challenges in the defense, intelligence, homeland security, civil, and health markets. The company’s 32,000 employees support vital missions for government and commercial customers. Headquartered in Reston, Virginia, Leidos reported annual revenues of approximately $10.19 billion for the fiscal year ended December 28, 2018. For more information, visit www.Leidos.com.
About the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Malaria Vaccine Development Program (MVDP)
USAID’s mission is to partner to end extreme poverty and promote resilient, democratic societies while advancing our security and prosperity. The MVDP is housed in the Malaria Division of the Office of Infectious Diseases of USAID’s Bureau for Global Health. Initiated in 1965 in response to the end of the first malaria eradication era, the MVDP has worked with a variety of partners to contribute early research on the circumsporozoite protein, as well as blood-stage and liver-stage vaccine approaches. Its mission is to develop and introduce malaria vaccines to protect vulnerable populations in the developing world. For further information, please visit www.usaid.gov.
Certain statements in this document are "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act. These statements are based on management's current expectations and are subject to uncertainty and changes in circumstances. Actual results may differ materially from those included in these statements due to a variety of factors, including whether: GeoVax can develop and manufacture its vaccines with the desired characteristics in a timely manner, GeoVax's vaccines will be safe for human use, GeoVax's vaccines will effectively prevent targeted infections in humans, GeoVax’s vaccines will receive regulatory approvals necessary to be licensed and marketed, GeoVax raises required capital to complete vaccine development, there is development of competitive products that may be more effective or easier to use than GeoVax's products, GeoVax will be able to enter into favorable manufacturing and distribution agreements, and other factors, over which GeoVax has no control. GeoVax assumes no obligation to update these forward-looking statements and does not intend to do so. More information about these factors is contained in GeoVax's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission including those set forth at "Risk Factors" in GeoVax's Form 10-K.
GeoVax Labs, Inc.