Themis pushes into PhII with Chikungunya vax candidate

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Even though many people around the world currently have a laser focus on Zika, development projects for vaccines against other mosquito-borne viruses remain important. This week, Austrian biotech Themis Bioscience said it’s starting a Phase II for its Chikungunya virus vaccine, what it calls “the most advanced” candidate of its kind.

Themis will test its Chikungunya vaccine in a dose confirmation study with 320 volunteers who will receive a middle or high dose either in a single injection or two separated by one month. The vaccine is based on the company’s Themaxyn platform, which was developed through a partnership with the Institut Pasteur.

Trial sites will be in either Germany or Austria, but the study “is aimed at the registration of our vaccine candidate on a world-wide basis,” CEO Erich Tauber said in a statement. The biotech plans further Phase II trials in the U.S. and Caribbean.

"With outbreaks in many regions of the world, the Chikungunya virus remains a growing risk in endemic areas,” Tauber said in a statement. “A prophylactic vaccine against Chikungunya is highly desirable and we are happy to be able to offer this important vaccine candidate that is now undergoing a Phase 2 clinical trial."

Themis’ Phase II trial launch follows the company’s €10 million ($11.1 million) fundraise last year, a portion of which was to fund the trial. It also comes after the company in July expanded its Institut Pasteur partnership into Zika; it’s planning clinical trials within 12 months.

The NIAID is also working on a vaccine against chikungunya, which can cause fever and joint pain, among other symptoms. Additionally, just this week, Hawaii Biotech secured a NIAID small business research grant to work in the area. It’ll collaborate with the Baylor College of Medicine and the Sabin Vaccine Institute on a project utilizing the biotech’s vaccine platform.

- here’s the Themis release
- get more from Hawaii Biotech

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