Company: Pevion Biotech
Target: Recurrent vulvovaginal candidiasis
Good news for women who suffer from chronic yeast infections, alias thrush, alias recurrent vulvovaginal candidiasis (RVV): Interim results from a Phase I study of a potential first-in-class vaccine against the yeast Candida albicans, are positive. The data were reported in early October by Swiss startup Pevion Biotech.
Volunteers in Pevion's trial were given a high-dose intramuscular injection of the vaccine called PEV7. Data showed "strong immune response detected in vaginal and cervical samples. All volunteers showed a mucosal immune response with consistently high titers across the group." The results from this high-dose study were considerably more robust than those achieved with low doses of the vaccine candidate. No serious adverse events were reported.
Fresh understanding of market potential is also encouraging Pevion. An international study involving 6,000 women from across the U.S. and five large European markets-the largest epidemiological study ever done on RVV-revealed that up to 7% of women worldwide suffer with chronic Candida infections. Pevion commissioned the study from independent market research firm Ipsos Health and announced the findings along with its interim clinical data.
Pevion's technology entails delivering antigens to patients through "virosomes," which are essentially influenza-virus "envelopes" that can be engineered to carry antigens on their surface and which by themselves help provoke an immune response. Beyond PEV7, Pevion is leveraging the same technology platform to develop other therapeutic vaccines against respiratory syncytial virus and breast cancer. The company has previously out-licensed a candidate against malaria.
The Swiss startup is not the only firm developing vaccines with virosomes. Johnson & Johnson and its Netherlands-based subsidiary Crucell already market vaccines made this way internationally-a fact that only improves the outlook for Pevion.