PlacMalVac - a project coordinated by University of Copenhagen has received an FP7 EU grant, which will enable the first clinical trial of a VAR2CSA based vaccine to target malaria parasites infecting pregnant women.
The international consortium includes the Centre for Medical Parasitology (CMP) from University of Copenhagen (Denmark), ExpreS2ion Biotechnologies (Denmark), Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (France), European Vaccine Initiative (EVI, Germany), Université d'Abomey-Calavi (Benin), & University of Tübingen (Germany).
The clinical development program was initiated in 2012 with support from the Danish National Advanced Technology Foundation.
Professor Ali Salanti from the University of Copenhagen: “The funding from DNATF allowed us to commence a very ambitious and high risk vaccine development project, and in this project we managed to define and show proof of concept for the malaria vaccine and we are currently addressing manufacturability of the vaccine. The funding from EU FP7 will enable us to continue the development including upstream and downstream process development, GMP production, Phase Ia and Ib human clinical trials, as well as preparations for Phase II clinical trials."
Professor Thor G. Theander from the University of Copenhagen: “This will be the first clinical trial using the parasite antigens that cause severe disease syndromes. The vaccine attempts not to eliminate the infection but to eliminate the disease. At Centre for Medical Parasitology we are all thrilled to have this opportunity and it marks an intermediate highpoint of many years of committed research. If the vaccine is safe it will, however, require many years of continued international support before it can help pregnant women and their unborn children.”
Dr. Charlotte Dyring, CEO of ExpreS2ion Biotechnologies: “We are proud to be part of this significant effort in the fight against malaria. Our partnership with CMP has allowed us to leverage our Drosophila S2 cells-based protein expression platform capabilities to contribute to developing a potential vaccine for the millions of people impacted by placental malaria. Our platform is very well suited for production of complex and challenging antigens and has good scalability, which is one of the reasons why it is the choice of expression platform for this and other malaria projects."