Genocea Biosciences Awarded Grant for the Development of Chlamydia Vaccines from the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center's Sexually Transmitted Infections Cooperative Research Center
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - (Business Wire) Genocea Biosciences, a leading vaccine discovery and development company, today announced it has been awarded a grant from the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center's (UPMC) Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI) Cooperative Research Center for the development of vaccines for Chlamydia trachomatis.
"We look forward to collaborating with Dr. Darville, an internationally recognized Chlamydia researcher, in tackling the most reported sexually transmitted infection of bacterial origin in the United States," said Staph Leavenworth Bakali, Genocea's president and chief executive officer. "Our research to date serves as the foundation of this collaboration and highlights Genocea's demonstrated ability to rapidly identify proprietary, novel Chlamydia antigens that are protective or associated with disease progression in patients, and may play a role in the development of a vaccine for this disease. This collaboration complements ongoing preclinical studies based on already identified novel antigens."
Genocea will be working with the UPMC STI Cooperative Research Center's Principal Investigator, Toni Darville, M.D., chief of the Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh and a professor of pediatrics and immunology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, and Tom Cherpes, M.D., assistant professor of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and a researcher at Magee-Womens Research Institute.
Chlamydia trachomatis infects over 90 million people around the world each year and is the largest cause of preventable blindness, afflicting over 8 million people worldwide with irreversible blindness or visual impairment. Chlamydia is the most frequently reported sexually transmitted disease in the United States with approximately four million new cases and over $2 billion spent to treat the disease each year. Chlamydia infections can progress to serious reproductive complications that cause irreversible damage, including infertility, often occurring "silently" before a patient ever recognizes a problem. Furthermore, untreated Chlamydia trachomatis infections have been known to cause pelvic inflammatory disease in up to 40 percent of women with untreated Chlamydia.
In November 2009, UPMC received a $12.5 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to establish the UPMC STI Cooperative Research Center to advance the understanding of the pathogenesis, diagnosis, prevention, control, and treatment of sexually transmitted infections and associated syndromes.
About Genocea Biosciences
Genocea Biosciences was founded in 2006 to commercialize key breakthroughs in vaccine discovery and development. The company's proprietary T cell-directed antigen discovery program represents a broad platform with the potential to generate significant novel vaccines for multiple pathogens with high unmet medical need. Genocea is currently developing vaccines for Chlamydia trachomatis, Streptococcus pneumoniae (pneumonia is the leading killer of children under the age of five worldwide) and other undisclosed targets. Genocea was recognized by BusinessWeek as one of the "World's Most Intriguing Startups" for 2009. In 2008, Genocea was selected as "Best Vaccine Startup" at the World Vaccine Congress and was selected as one of the 15 most exciting biotech startup companies by FierceBiotech. Genocea is backed by leading investors including Lux Capital Management, Polaris Venture Partners, SR One, Auriga Partners, Cycad Group, Morningside Ventures and Alexandria Real Estate Equities. Visit www.genocea.com for more information.