New collaboration aims at next-gen malaria vaccine

PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative and the Seattle Biomedical Research Institute are poised to announce a new collaboration this morning aimed at developing a next-generation malaria vaccine. Researchers have already identified 25 to 30 early, liver-stage antigens. Now they'll narrow that group down to a set of three to five antigens that can be used in new vaccines.  

"There will be animal studies with the animal version and then in humans we'll look at an approach that works against malaria," Dr. Ashley Birkett, the director of preclinical research and development at the PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative, tells FierceVaccines. After that, he adds, "we'll work to find the right partners to take these candidates."

PATH MVI--which draws much of its funds from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation--is already working with GlaxoSmithKline to advance a new malaria vaccine that could be 53 percent effective. This early-stage collaboration is aimed at raising the bar higher.

"The GSK program starts Phase III in the next few months. What we're looking to do now is help facilitate the design and production of the next generation, with 80 percent-plus efficacy," says Birkett. MVI will provide an initial $2.3 million to SBRI to support prioritization of the antigens.

- read the release