Taking aim at the leading cause of hospital-acquired diarrhea, Clostridium difficile, Acambis has completed its prep work for a proof-of-concept trial late next year. During Phase I testing involving about 200 subjects, the vaccine generated immune response to the two toxins that cause C. difficile-associated disease, which costs European and U.S. hospitals some $5 billion annually.
Since then, the company has developed new, better-stabilized formulations for the vaccine. One of these will be selected for use in the next trial. "We have previously shown that this vaccine can achieve seroconversion rates of up to 100 percent," says Dr. Michael Watson, head of R&D at Acambis. "We are focused on getting our vaccine to proof-of-concept as quickly as possible."