J&J, GSK team on malaria vaccine

The PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative (MVI) is collaborating with GlaxoSmithKline and Johnson & Johnson's vaccine unit Crucell to test second-generation version of GSK's experimental malaria vaccine, called Mosquirix. The shot is in late-stage trials and could be approved by 2015. However, the current version of the vaccine is only 50 percent effective. The group hopes to increase the vaccine's efficacy by dosing patients with Crucell's "prime-boost" vaccine followed by two doses of Mosquirix. Crucell's vaccine uses a engineered form of the common cold to prime the immune system, eliciting a stronger immune response to the malaria vaccine.

"This new collaboration, though in the early stages, gives us the opportunity to test an approach with the potential to substantially increase efficacy and move us closer to the internationally agreed goal of an 80-percent effective second-generation vaccine by 2025," noted Christian Loucq, director of MVI. PATH, GSK and J&J plan to start early-stage trials this year, and expect data within 18 to 24 months.

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