VaxInnate bird flu shot flies into Phase I

VaxInnate's VAX161, the company's vaccine in development to protect against a bird flu pandemic, has moved into Phase I trials. In 2011, VaxInnate was awarded a 5-year contract worth up to $196 million over 5 years to fund the development of seasonal and pandemic flu vaccines, and VAX161 is part of this project. In the study, 250 healthy volunteers will get two doses of the vaccine three weeks apart. The study will take place at centers in Kansas and Florida.

"The objective of this study is to optimize the dose, based on the immunogenicity and safety of VAX161," said David Taylor, M.D., Chief Medical Officer. "We believe our vaccine candidate has the potential to be a highly effective and much-needed vaccine for pandemic avian flu."

VAX161 is made up of a protein from an avian flu virus fused to a fragment of Salmonella typhimurium, which will trigger a strong immune response. VaxInnate's vaccines are produced in bacteria, rather than fertilized hen's eggs, the approach used for many vaccines on the market. This will cut the costs, as well as make the production schedule more flexible in response to a pandemic.

- read the press release