The International Vaccine Institute (IVI) and Inviragen, Inc. today announced the signing of a memorandum of understanding with the ultimate objective of making a dengue vaccine widely accessible to people in countries where this disease is endemic. The IVI, through the Dengue Vaccine Initiative (DVI), is developing strategies to raise awareness of the need to invest in research and development of a dengue vaccine, and to finance the development and distribution of vaccines, goals which will be furthered through this collaboration with Inviragen. As part of the collaboration, IVI and Inviragen also aim to strengthen the regulatory and policy environments to accelerate dengue vaccine development and introduction, and to raise funding to assist low- and middle-income countries with procuring available vaccine candidates.
At least 2.5 billion people, or two-fifths of the world's population, are at risk of contracting dengue, a mosquito-borne infection which causes severe flu-like symptoms. No specific treatment or reliable prevention method exists for the infection whose reach, already endemic in more than 120 countries, continues to grow. A safe, effective and affordable dengue vaccine would represent a powerful tool against this major public health threat, which is the world's most important vector borne viral disease.
Earlier this year, IVI announced the launch of the DVI, in collaboration with the Sabin Vaccine Institute, the Johns Hopkins University, and the World Health Organization. The DVI aims to increase the global priority given to dengue vaccines through evidence-based research to inform policy. Through a $6.9 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and in partnership with governments, industry and the scientific community, DVI will accelerate the development and utilization of safe, affordable and broadly protective vaccines to combat dengue.
"The International Vaccine Institute, in collaboration with Inviragen, a company that has shown a commitment to developing a vaccine for dengue, plans to expedite the collective goal of developing and introducing a safe, effective and affordable dengue vaccine in the near future," said Dr. Luiz da Silva, Director of DVI. "Dengue is not simply a public health threat but can have a catastrophic effect on the economic status of those living in poverty around the globe. The time is now to invest in the development of dengue vaccines."
Dr. Dan Stinchcomb, CEO of Inviragen added, "Inviragen's collaboration with the DVI will allow us to address issues of vaccine acceptance and distribution while we continue clinical testing of our tetravalent DENVax vaccine in dengue endemic countries. We look forward to working with IVI and other member organizations of the DVI on this critical effort to advance the development and utilization of a safe and effective vaccine that targets the four strains of the dengue virus."
About International Vaccine Institute
The International Vaccine Institute (IVI) is a non-profit international organization devoted exclusively to developing and introducing new and improved vaccines for the world's poorest people, especially children in developing countries. The IVI conducts research in 30 countries in Asia, Africa, and Central and South America on vaccines against diarrheal infections, bacterial meningitis and pneumonia, Japanese encephalitis, and dengue fever, and develops new and improved vaccines, delivery routes and adjuvants at its headquarters in Seoul, Korea.
About Inviragen, Inc.
Inviragen is focused on developing vaccines to protect against infectious diseases worldwide. The Company is currently conducting two Phase 1 studies of DENVax, a vaccine to protect against dengue fever, as well as a Phase 1 trial of EV71, a vaccine against hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD). Vaccines to protect against chikungunya and Japanese encephalitis, which affect millions of individuals in Asia, are in earlier stages of clinical manufacturing and development. Inviragen also intends to pursue development of a low-cost human papilloma virus vaccine, vaccines to protect against new forms of influenza and a combination plague/smallpox vaccine for biodefense. Inviragen has offices in Colorado, Wisconsin and Singapore. See www.inviragen.com for more details.