Tetragenetics Inc., a biotechnology company focused on the development of recombinant vaccines, today reported preclinical study results showing that an investigational nanoparticle-based influenza vaccine protects against a highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza strain. The study was conducted by scientists at the Institute for Antiviral Research of Utah State University in Logan, Utah and Tetragenetics under a contract sponsored by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health.
Tetragenetics scientists designed and produced a recombinant nanoparticle vaccine against a highly pathogenic avian influenza virus subtype, namely the H5N1 (A/Vietnam/1203/2004) strain. At lethal doses of influenza, 90% in the treatment group that were immunized with the company's vaccine survived the lethal challenge. The H5N1 vaccine candidate was comprised of the viral hemagglutinin linked to a scaffold protein from Tetrahymena thermophila that promotes assembly into remarkably homogenous nanoparticles in the 40-60nm size range (G-SOME™ particles).
"These results clearly demonstrate the use of Tetrahymena as a highly efficient and versatile expression system for the production of nanoscale particle-based vaccines against infectious disease agents. Because assembly of high-purity G-SOME™ particles does not depend on viral capsid or envelope proteins per se, this novel technology is particularly well suited to the production of multivalent vaccines targeting broad classes of pathogens," stated Dr.Ted Clark, CSO and founder of Tetragenetics Inc.
"The G-SOME™ vaccine particle breakthrough offers the ability to produce novel vaccines quickly and against virtually any pathogen. We have in fact developed, produced, and tested this pandemic vaccine in less than 6 months. This is a powerful tool to demonstrate proof-of-concept for a multitude of product candidates rapidly and efficiently. Our plan is to rapidly advance several highly differentiated vaccine programs into human clinical trials with pharmaceutical and vaccine company partners," stated Dr. Marco Cacciuttolo, President and CEO of Tetragenetics Inc.