Yisheng Biopharma says Phase I rabies vaccine results positive

China's Yisheng Biopharma said it produced "positive topline results" from a Phase I clinical trial of its investigational PIKA rabies vaccine. The vaccine is designed to accelerate the immune response against postexposure rabies virus, the company said in a release. The company said the project to develop the vaccine, which uses a double-stranded RNA analog, was named a "National Key Medicine Innovation" in 2013 by China's National Ministry of Science and Technology. Rabies, which kills 60,000 people annually around the world, is a severe problem around the world in developing countries like India and China. The disease's mortality rate is nearly 100% after the onset of clinical symptoms, the company said in its statement, adding that "fast production of neutralizing antibody … post vaccination is critical for life saving against the post-exposure rabies infection." The clinical trial was carried out at Singapore's SingHealth Investigational Medicine Unit. "We are excited to see that this trial confirms and advances the results observed in preclinical studies," Yi Zhang, Yisheng's chairman and the PIKA project leader, said in the company's statement. "In our multiple animal experiments to mimic the scenario of post-exposure infection, animals were first injected with a lethal dose of rabies virus, and then rescued by vaccination using either our PIKA rabies vaccine or the commercially existing vaccines. Only 20% of animals survived after being treated with the commercially existing vaccines, however 80% of the animals survived after vaccination of our PIKA rabies vaccine," adding that the company was working to move ahead on a Phase II trial. Release

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