Vax experts discuss trials, tribulations of malaria R&D

Stephen Hoffman joined a group of vaccine development experts gathering in Washington this week to discuss their progress on a new malaria jab. But the founder of Sanaria reportedly found himself on the hot seat discussing the biotech company's lack of success in its first trial of a new vaccine.

Pressed to discuss the data, Reuters reports, Hoffman conceded that only five of the 80 participants in the trial demonstrated a significant immune response. "The vaccine was used to immunize 80 volunteers and it was safe and well tolerated," said the CEO. But it wasn't very effective at providing protection.

Reuters used Sanaria's experience as an example of just how hard it can be to develop a vaccine against a parasite like the one responsible for malaria. Much of the attention has been focused on GlaxoSmithKline, which has seen considerable promise with Mosquirix.

"We're getting close--we are getting very close," said GSK's Dr. Joe Cohen. A large trial is underway now in Africa. And vaccine delivery technologies from companies like Inovio and Crucell are also in the spotlight this week.

- here's the article from Reuters