GenVec, Inc. (NASDAQ: GNVC) today announced that it has signed a research collaboration agreement with the Laboratory of Malaria Immunology and Vaccinology (LMIV) of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health.
The research collaboration will utilize GenVec's proprietary gorilla adenovirus vectors to deliver a number of novel antigens discovered at the LMIV in order to create and test a variety of malaria vaccine candidates. GenVec will construct vaccine candidates at its laboratories and hand them off to LMIV's Vaccine Development Unit, which is headed by Patrick E. Duffy, M.D., for preclinical testing.
The focus of this joint approach is to devise vaccines that block the transmission of the deadliest malaria-causing parasite, Plasmodium falciparum, by triggering the production of antibodies that are taken up by a mosquito when it bites a vaccinated individual. This differentiated approach launches an attack on the parasite while it is in its mosquito carrier and could potentially help stop the spread of the disease to subsequent bite victims.
"We are very excited to take our program to the next level through this collaboration and to have the opportunity to work with Dr. Duffy and his team on an innovative malaria transmission-blocking vaccine strategy. We believe that our gorilla adenovectors may prove to be particularly useful for this specific approach given previous data which shows that they can induce a very robust immune response to expressed antigens," said Douglas E. Brough, Ph.D., GenVec's chief scientific officer.