PROVIDENCE, Rhode Island, June 11, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- EpiVax reports today that the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) is investing $5.2 Million for the development of a new type of vaccine against Q fever. Academic and industry organizations from around the world, led by Mark Poznansky of the Vaccine and Immunotherapy Center (VIC) and Massachusetts General Hospital and Annie De Groot of EpiVax (Providence, Rhode Island) have joined forces to focus on rapid vaccine development for emerging infectious disease. The VaxCelerate consortium includes collaborators from Colorado State University in Fort Collins; InnatOss Laboratories in Oss, the Netherlands and Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut.
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EpiVax contributes first-in-class immunoinformatics tools to speed the pace of vaccine development and provide rapid clues about the likelihood of success in human trials. "EpiVax has worked hard to be at the forefront of the 'vaccines on demand' concept. Their selection as a partner in this project recognizes their leadership in terms of developing safer, more efficient vaccines and improving our national biodefense rapid response capabilities," stated U.S. Senator Jack Reed (D-RI), the Ranking Member of the Armed Services Committee.
Following a delayed response to the H1N1 flu in 2009, the U.S. federal government has made major investments in rapid vaccine manufacturing approaches. The VaxCelerate effort received early funding from the Defense Advanced Research Programs Agency (DARPA) to integrate cutting-edge technologies into an end-to-end vaccine development process. The consortium was able to successfully develop and test a new vaccine for Lassa fever in 120 days, starting only from genomic data on the virus. The current DTRA-funded project focuses on the development of an RNA-based vaccine that will promote protective responses against the Q fever bacteria without the potential safety issues that prevent existing vaccine candidates from receiving US regulatory approval for use in humans.
EpiVax is a biotechnology company based in Providence, Rhode Island with expertise in immunology, immunoinformatics, immunogenicity screening, deimmunization, and immune modulation. EpiVax leverages computational tools to engineer safer, more effective therapeutic proteins and rapidly design protective and efficacious new vaccines.
About Q Fever
Q fever is a worldwide disease caused by the bacteria Coxiella burnetii. Humans are susceptible to the disease, and few organisms may be required to cause infection.