Contacts: Preeti Singh, psingh [at] burnesscommunications.com
April 6, 2010—The PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative (MVI) today congratulated GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals (GSK Bio) and Crucell NV on their new collaboration to develop a vaccine approach aimed at boosting the efficacy of the world’s most clinically advanced malaria vaccine candidate, RTS,S.
"We are excited by the potential of this new endeavor for the field of malaria vaccine development overall and very pleased with the way in which the effort announced today aligns with MVI's own research and development strategy," said Dr. Ashley Birkett, director of pre- and early-clinical research and development at MVI. "The agreement between GSK Bio and Crucell is an example of the kind of collaboration that will be required to achieve the community’s goal of a highly effective, next-generation vaccine."
MVI has strong and successful collaborations with each of the parties to this new agreement. MVI has worked in collaboration with GSK Bio since 2001 and is currently supporting the Phase 3 trial of RTS,S. Under an agreement with Crucell, MVI will support the first test in humans of a vaccine approach that includes weakened cold viruses coupled to a protein similar to that used in RTS,S (Ad35.CS and Ad26.CS). The newly announced collaboration will focus on a "prime-boost" approach, using the Crucell cold virus-derived vaccine candidate (Ad35.CS) as a first dose (prime), followed by two doses of the GSK vaccine candidate (RTS,S) to enhance the body’s ability to fight the parasite.
"With a first malaria vaccine on the horizon, we need to be thinking about how to prepare for this major breakthrough in the battle against malaria," said Dr. Christian Loucq, director of MVI. "At the same time, this new agreement highlights the importance of investing in the development of next-generation vaccines—including those that build on the success to date of RTS,S—so that we can continue to close in on the elimination of this deadly disease."
"MVI is committed to attaining a world free from malaria," Dr. Loucq concluded. "We applaud this endeavor between two of our industry partners and hope that it will inspire others to join together in pursuit of ever more effective malaria vaccines."