BioDiem steps closer to a dengue vaccine

Caused by a mosquito-transmitted virus, dengue fever--or breakbone fever--symptoms include fever, headache, joint, muscle and bone pain, and can occasionally be fatal. There is currently no approved vaccine, but BioDiem hopes to fill this gap through its global licensing agreement with Australian National University to develop a vaccine technology targeting the dengue virus. Under the terms of the agreement, BioDiem will pay royalties on any marketed products that arise from the research, and the company will also be able to sublicense the technology. 

"We are delighted to announce the completion of this licensing agreement, which sees BioDiem's commercial expertise in the area of vaccines fittingly partnered with the exciting research developed by ANU. Our focus on infectious diseases is an excellent fit for this new technology which has strong potential as an asset for outlicensing," said BioDiem CEO Julie Phillips.

Dengue virus infection causes major health problems in the tropics and subtropics, affecting 50 to 100 million people every year, and is the main cause of fever in travelers returning from Asia, the Caribbean and Latin America. A vaccine could help the local population, as well as protect tourists and the military who also visit these regions. This vaccine technology could also have potential in Murray River encephalitis and Japanese encephalitis, which are carried by mosquitoes, and this will become more significant in the future as global warming could expand their range and bring disease to the U.S. and Europe.

There is currently no vaccine approved for the prevention of infection with the dengue virus, but early diagnosis can reduce the risk of serious illness and death. To support this, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has developed a new diagnostic test to detect the presence of all four types of dengue virus in people with symptoms of dengue fever or dengue hemorrhagic fever.

- read the press release from BioDiem
- check out the press release from the CDC