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Frost & Sullivan Awards “2010 European Influenza Vaccines Technology Innovation Award” to BiondVax Pharmaceuticals for Universal Influenza Vaccine

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This vaccine, the Multimeric-001, is designed to provide multi-season and multi-strain protection against most influenza virus strains, including both seasonal and pandemic strains, and has the potential to eliminate the need for annual flu vaccination. BiondVax is entering Phase II clinical trials for the development of the Multimeric-001 universal influenza vaccine.

In recent years, with the appearance of new, global pandemics, influenza has emerged as a serious disease, affecting the lives of millions of people. The influenza virus has frequent mutations in its surface proteins, resulting in new viral strains that are unfamiliar to the immune system. As a result, the immune response against the virus is largely ineffective, requiring immunisation using annual influenza vaccines. However, because the currently available influenza vaccines are strain-specific, the vaccines must be reformulated every year, requiring annual immunisations.

BiondVax, based in Israel, is developing a vaccine designed to overcome these limitations. The company’s vaccine is composed of several conserved epitopes from the influenza virus which are common to most flu strains and can therefore activate the immune system against any new or existing influenza viral strains.

The Frost & Sullivan Technology Innovation Award is being awarded to BiondVax in recognition of the innovative Multimeric-001 vaccine, which is unique in the following respects. First, it activates both antibody-mediated (humoral) and cell-mediated immune responses, significantly enhancing the immunity offered by the vaccine. Second, since the vaccine is composed of multiple conserved epitopes from both Influenza Type A and Type B strains, it would offer cross-strain protection against all seasonal and pandemic influenza viruses and would be resistant to mutations of the influenza virus. Finally, BiondVax’s vaccine is manufactured by fermentation in E. coli, a robust and efficient process which is estimated to yield commercial-scale production batches in 6-8 weeks, compared with current egg- and cell-based technologies which take 4-6 months.  Unlike current influenza vaccines, BiondVax’s vaccine would not need to be administered every year, and would require booster doses only once in 3-5 years, thus conferring long-term protection.

Pre-clinical studies have confirmed the efficacy of BiondVax’s vaccine. In addition, BiondVax has recently concluded two Phase I/II clinical trials, in which the vaccine demonstrated both safety and immunogenicity in both younger and older adults. The company is currently preparing to commence its first Phase II clinical trial, expected to be completed by mid-2011.

“BiondVax is honoured to receive this prestigious award from Frost & Sullivan”, commented Dr. Ron Babecoff, CEO of BiondVax. “We believe that our universal influenza vaccine is truly innovative, and has the potential to dramatically change the way in which we protect ourselves against the flu, not only from season to season, but also from any potentially virulent and dangerous pandemic flu strains.”