Measles epidemic triggered by parental stonewalling; Aeras Global snares $12M for TB vax work; PPD launches vax lab network;

Vaccine Market

Early this week the FDA warned doctors away from GlaxoSmithKline's Rotarix rotavirus after finding a pig virus--PCV1-in the vaccine. There's no known health threat posed by the virus, but health officials wanted to err on the side of caution as they studied the situation. Story

A new CDC probe has concluded that a measles epidemic in San Diego was triggered by parents' refusal to have their children vaccinated, thereby exposing children too young for the shot to a higher risk of the disease. Measles had been safely contained but the CDC is concerned that certain regional pockets where vaccines are regarded with considerable suspicion have allowed fresh flare-ups to occur. Story

Last week's report by the China Economic Times about the use of unsafe vaccines has triggered a raucous response, with local officials in Shanxi vehemently denying the allegations even as authorities in Beijing vow to investigate. And now other publications have jumped in on both sides of the issue, defending the response in Shanxi as well as attacking them for their immediate denials. Report

Vaccine Research

The Aeras Global TB Vaccine Foundation has received a $12 million grant from the UK. The foundation is working on six new TB vaccines. Story

San Diego-based Vical has landed about $2 million from the U.S. Navy to help pay for its clinical trial of an experimental H1N1 vaccine. Report

Merck KGaA halted a mid-stage trial of its closely-watched cancer vaccine Stimuvax after a patient who received a combo drug matching the vaccine with the chemo drug cyclophosphamide developed encephalitis. The trial suspension hit Oncothyreon the hardest. The biotech, which partnered the vaccine with Merck KGaA, saw its stock plunge on the news. Story

Shares of Dynavax Technologies (DVAX) spiked 21 percent after the developer announced that its experimental hepatitis B vaccine Heplisav proved to be as safe as GSK's recently approved Engerix-B. Researchers say they saw no difference between the autoimmune responses in patients taking either Heplisav or the GSK vaccine. Report

PPD has launched the PPD Vaccines & Biologics Center of Excellence, a comprehensive network of laboratory services focused specifically on vaccine and biologic drug development. Release

Dr. Walter Plowright, the British inventor of the vaccine that wiped out the cattle disease rinderpest, died this week at the age of 86. Report