Affinivax Announces Collaboration with PATH to Advance the Company's Lead Vaccine Candidate for Pneumococcal Disease
Collaboration focuses on selecting a final development candidate by the end of 2015
Cambridge, Mass., February 12, 2015 – Affinivax Inc., a biotechnology company dedicated to developing novel vaccines, today announced it has entered into a collaboration agreement with PATH, a global health nonprofit organization, to advance the company's lead vaccine candidate for Streptococcus pneumoniae (pneumococcus). The partnership includes funding from PATH to support product development, preclinical testing and manufacturing, with the goal to qualify and select a final development candidate to advance towards clinical testing.
The vaccine against Streptococcus pneumoniae that is the focus of the collaboration was developed utilizing Affinivax's proprietary Multiple Antigen Presenting System (MAPS) technology. The MAPS technology offers the potential to protect children and adults against a broader range of pneumococcal strains and invasive disease, as well as reduce the amount and duration of nasopharyngeal colonization (carriage) and disease transmission. By combining protective polysaccharides and proteins in a single vaccine to induce a robust B and T cell immune response against both disease and carriage, MAPS represents a next generation approach in vaccine technologies. The highly efficient process of MAPS also provides for a more rapid and cost-efficient approach to producing vaccines, enabling greater global access to children and adults in need.
"Affinivax's MAPS technology offers the potential to increase breadth of protection with a cost-effective approach, which could enable children to have access to life-saving vaccines against pneumococcus," said Dr. Mark Alderson, director of PATH's pneumococcal vaccine project. "This collaboration with Affinivax exemplifies PATH's dedication to working with scientists and companies to advance vaccines that can prevent the spread of pneumonia and other pneumococcal diseases among children in the developing world."
"We are very pleased to have the opportunity to work with PATH and benefit from their extensive expertise and experience in the global development of vaccines against pneumococcus," said Steven B. Brugger, CEO of Affinivax. "PATH's commitment and involvement will enable us to accelerate the development of our lead vaccine program towards the clinic and realize our goal to offer more accessible vaccines, with broader protection against diseases, to children and adults around the world."
Streptococcus pneumoniae is a bacterium frequently found in the upper respiratory tract of healthy children and adults, and can cause serious infections ranging from pneumonia, meningitis, and sepsis, representing a major global health problem. The World Health Organization estimates that more than 1.6 million people, including more than 800,000 children under 5 years old, die every year from pneumococcal infections, with most of these deaths occurring in low-resource countries. The U.S. Center for Disease Control estimates that about 900,000 cases occur in the U.S. alone, resulting in up to 400,000 hospitalizations and 50,000 deaths annually. By overcoming the technical challenges of conventional conjugate vaccine approaches and inducing a broader protective immune response, a more affordable MAPS vaccine against Streptococcus pneumoniae offers the potential to make a significant global impact on this pneumococcal disease.
Affinivax is advancing a next generation vaccine technology platform to enable the development of vaccines that provide the highest level of protection against challenging infectious diseases. Backed by an investment from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and working with world experts in vaccine discovery and development, Affinivax is focused on creating a pipeline of vaccines for children and adults in both the developed and developing worlds. The company's proprietary vaccine platform, called Multiple Antigen Presentation System (MAPS), enables the high affinity binding of protective polysaccharides and proteins in a single vaccine and uniquely induces a broad and protective immune response. The MAPS technology provides a highly stable, modular, and efficient approach to develop vaccines against a wide range of diseases. The company has achieved preliminary preclinical proof-of-concept for several MAPS vaccines and is currently advancing its lead vaccine candidate against Streptococcus pneumoniae.