VaxInnate is in a tight race to develop the first "universal" flu vaccine that would be able to tackle a variety of influenzas and do away with the annual winter jab. Acambis, Merck and Dynavax are also pushing new vaccines in this race as well, but in interviews with the Star-Ledger, VaxInnate's research staff sounds confident that they will come out ahead with M2-flagellin. The work involves fusing two different genetic codes into a protein that spurs the immune system to ward of all varieties of flu. And using a recombinant DNA production approach, any new vaccine they make won't rely on the slow process required by egg-based production in use today.
VaxInnate is undertaking a Phase I study at the University of Texas, courtesy of a $9.5 million grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The company says that it has enough money to make it through Phase II. At that point, say researchers, they can line up a marketing partner to plan a late-stage study.
- see VaxInnate's release on the trial
- read the profile from The Star-Ledger