The Government of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea announced an agreement with industry partners, Marathon Oil Corporation, Noble Energy Inc. and AMPCO, to sponsor the clinical development of Sanaria® PfSPZ Vaccine against malaria, including a series of clinical trials from 2015 until 2018.
Malaria is one of the leading causes of infant and childhood mortality in the world, particularly in Africa. The World Health Organization estimated that in 2013 there were 198 million clinical cases and 584,000 deaths caused by malaria, primarily by Plasmodium falciparum malaria. Malaria directly reduces the Gross Domestic Product of African countries by at least 1 percent annually. This economic impact is estimated based on lives lost, healthcare costs, reduced learning capabilities by students, loss of worker productivity, and a range of other factors.
As a leader among African governments in support for malaria vaccine research and development, the Republic of Equatorial Guinea, through the Ministries of Health and Social Welfare and Mines, Industry and Energy, and its partners in the oil and gas sector, will invest more than $48.5 million USD to support Sanaria Inc., a U.S. biotechnology company, in its efforts to develop and license a PfSPZ vaccine for protection against malaria. The Government of Equatorial Guinea is the major financial contributor in this initiative, with a commitment of $36.75 million USD, and the industry partners are investing $11.75 million USD. This is a unique international partnership that also involves the Ifakara Health Institute from Tanzania, the U.S. non-governmental organization, Medical Care Development International, the Swiss Tropical Public Health Institute, and the La Paz Malabo Medical Center, which is run by a team of Equatoguineans and Israelis. "The power and grandness of a country is not measured by its size nor its population, but rather by the size of its citizen's hearts," noted H.E. Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, President of Equatorial Guinea, on this unique partnership.
Commenting on this unique partnership and opportunity, Dr. Salim Abdulla, Director of the Ifakara Health Institute said, "We are honored to contribute towards this initiative driven by our African leaders and are excited about the possibility of elimination of malaria in Equatorial Guinea and other parts of Africa."
The first clinical trial of Sanaria® PfSPZ Vaccine commenced in Equatorial Guinea in early 2015 and additional trials are planned in 2016, including one with 450 subjects, and a planned phase 3 trial with 3,000 subjects in 2017-2018. The objectives of these trials are to show safety, protection and operational efficiency in support of licensure. The licensed vaccine will be targeted for use in mass vaccination campaigns that are intended to result in the elimination of malaria in Equatorial Guinea by the early 2020s. Through these investments, H.E. Gabriel Mbega Obiang Lima, Minister of Mines, Industry and Energy, called on international funders and foundations, "to continue to contribute to African challenges in order to develop Africa for Africans."
Sanaria and the Government of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea also signed a separate agreement regarding the future supply of vaccine, should the clinical trials be successful, and studies to determine the feasibility of developing an advanced clinical laboratory together with manufacturing and distribution centers in Equatorial Guinea.
"Sanaria is honored and grateful to be able to work with our collaborators and funding partners in this historic, unprecedented, visionary effort led by the Republic of Equatorial Guinea and its oil and energy company partners, which intends to demonstrate that a Sanaria® PfSPZ vaccine can halt transmission and eliminate malaria on Bioko Island, Equatorial Guinea, as a first step toward regional, continental, and world-wide elimination of this devastating disease," said Dr. Stephen L. Hoffman, CEO of Sanaria.
SOURCE Sanaria Inc.