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TMCNet:  Biothera Awarded NIH Grant for Fungal Vaccine Development

[August 27, 2014]

Biothera Awarded NIH Grant for Fungal Vaccine Development

EAGAN, Minn. --(Business Wire)--

The National Institutes of Health has awarded a small business innovation research grant to Biothera for the continued development of a fungal vaccine.

The $150,000 grant will support the continued preclinical research collaboration between Biothera and the California Institute for Medical Research (CIMR), which is focused on creating a novel fungal vaccine that may protect against infection from many different fungal species. The technology involves combining a purified fungal carbohydrate and a protein antigen into a single vaccine. In previous studies, Biothera, with its expertise in carbohydrate chemistry, created a vaccine by conjugating beta glucan particles, a major component of fungal cell walls, with a nonfungal protein antigen. The new funding will extend development to conjugating beta glucan particles with a specific protein antigen shared among different fungi, potentially providing the basis for a pan-fungal vaccine.

In initial preclinical studies, CIMR researchers demonstrated that the vaccine preparations protected mice from lethal infections with either aspergillosis or coccidioidomycosis (Valley Fever fungus). Some doses effectively reduced the burden of the fungus in the infected organs compared to the nonvaccinated control mice. In addition, the type of immune response the vaccines induced showed enhanced production of molecules that stimulate white blood cell killing of invading pathogens, as well as what appeared to be stimulation of what could beome a long lasting memory response.


"The goal is to develop a simpler but equally powerful and broad vaccine that could prevent such infections, and lessen the need for difficult and costly treatment," said David A. Stevens, M.D., president of the CIMR and principal investigator of its Infectious Disease Research Laboratory.

"Our Biothera research group looks forward to the ongoing collaboration with scientists from the California Institute for Medical Research on the development of the vaccine," said Don Cox (News - Alert), Ph.D., the principal investigator for Biothera. "This vaccine application reflects the broad potential of Biothera's beta glucan technologies."

Initial results from the CIMR aspergillosis study were presented at the 53rd Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy (ICAAC) meeting in Denver, CO. Recent results from the coccidioidomycosis study will be presented at the 54th Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy (IAAC) meeting in Washington, DC on September 8, 2014.

About Biothera, the Immune Health Company
Biothera is a U.S. biotechnology company dedicated to improving immune health. The company is a pioneer in the field of cancer immunotherapy and the leader in innate immune modulation. www.biothera.com.

About the California Institute for Medical Research
CIMR, on the grounds of Santa Clara Valley Medical Center in San Jose and governed by a Board of community leaders, was founded by Santa Clara County physicians 50 years ago, and enjoys financial support from philanthropic individuals in the South Bay, as well as from foundations and governmental agencies.

CIMR researchers for this vaccine study include internationally acclaimed experts in fungal diseases, Dr. Stevens and Karl V. Clemons, Ph.D. In addition to his responsibilities at CIMR, Dr. Stevens is Professor (Emeritus) of Medicine (tenured, 1978), Stanford University Medical School and Chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases and Hospital Epidemiologist, Santa Clara Valley Med. Ctr., Stanford and San Jose, California. Dr. Clemons is a Senior Research Scientist at the California Institute for Medical Research (CIMR) and Senior Lecturer in Medicine at Stanford University. He is the Director of the Laboratory Animal Facility, and Institutional Biosafety Officer. Visit www.cimr.org.


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