Stellar Biotechnologies, Inc. has announced that it has entered into an agreement with the University of Guelph (Ontario, Canada) for the exclusive option to license technology for the development of a vaccine candidate against Clostridium difficile infection (“CDI”).
Clostridium difficile is a type of bacteria normally present in the intestine, but which can overgrow as a result of antibiotic use. CDI causes severe diarrhea and life-threatening intestinal conditions such as colitis.
CDI is a major and growing cause of mortality and morbidity in hospitalized patients. In the United States, incidence of CDI is at a record high with 336,600 cases reported in 2009 and projected to continue to increase.
“The use of non-antibiotic-based approaches to control Clostridium difficile colonization may offer an important treatment option for CDI,” said Herbert Chow, Ph.D., Stellar Vice President of Product Development.
Chow continued, “Stellar is committed to identifying promising vaccine candidates such as for CDI or other disease targets that may be synergistic with our KLH platform.”
Professor Mario A. Monteiro (University of Guelph) commented that, "It is very gratifying to our research group that Stellar is taking the lead in commercializing our C. difficile vaccine technology, and to see that our scientific discoveries may soon be available to the public and provide a significant positive impact on global health".
The cost of CDI-related treatments in the U.S. and European countries is estimated at more than $7 billion a year.
The recent emergence and spread of hyper-virulent strains of Clostridium difficile further underscore the importance of developing novel approaches to preventing and treating CDI.