The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases awarded a five-year, $15.5 million contract to Inviragen and PharmaJet to continue their work on a needle-free dengue vaccine. The disease, which is transmitted to humans by mosquitoes in tropical and sub-tropical areas, hospitalizes approximately 500,000 people per year.
The joint venture uses Inviragen's DENVax vaccine using PharmaJet's needle-free technology, which uses a jet injection to administer vaccines and other medications.
"The PharmaJet injector has many properties that make it ideal for administering a dengue vaccine worldwide, potentially saving lives in affected countries and reducing the spread of the disease to new regions," said Dr. Dan Stinchcomb, Inviragen's Chief Executive Officer, in a release.
Not only would the needle-free system be easier to administer, it removes the risk of exposure to contaminated needles and uses a smaller vaccine dosage. "A needle-free dengue vaccine would be welcomed by patients in endemic countries and by travelers worldwide and could protect them from this devastating disease," said Dr. Linda McAllister, PharmaJet's interim Chief Executive Officer.
The NIAID contract will allow the companies to test the new delivery system and vaccine in South America and Southeast Asia, where dengue fever is prevalent. Currently, DENVax is in a Phase I trial to determine the efficacy of administering the vaccine via subcutaneous and intradermal delivery using needles.
- read the Inviragen/PharmaJet release
- see PharmaJet's syringe video