GenVec inks $3.5M deal with Naval Medical Research Center

GenVec inked a $3.5 million agreement with the Naval Medical Research Center to support malaria vaccine development.

The Gaithersburg, MD-based company will produce supplies of its vaccine for use in clinical trials. The company retains the right to commercialize the product. The NMRC will assess the safety and efficacy of the vaccines in a clinical challenge model it developed with Walter Reed Army Institute of Research malaria vaccine programs. Those programs are now unified as the U.S. Military Vaccine Program.

NMRC and WRAIR tested out GenVec's candidate in April 2010 in a Phase I trial. The data from the trial indicated the vaccine is safe, "causing minimal local or systemic reactions and no serious vaccine-related adverse reactions," according to GenVec's statement. And four out of 15 volunteers inoculated with the vaccine showed a complete absence of parasites in the blood.

"We appreciate the U.S. military's continued commitment to the worldwide problem of malaria and its support of malaria vaccine development," Joseph Bruder, director of research and head of GenVec's malaria program, said. "Work under this agreement will build upon the encouraging clinical results previously demonstrated in malaria with our vaccines."

The agreement comes a week after GenVec's new CEO Cynthia Collins decided to restructure, eliminating 23 jobs--about a third of the company's workforce. The cuts, occurring throughout the organization, needed to be done to "ensure that our costs are more closely aligned with our resources and business strategy," Collins said at the time.

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