Vical will make a component in an HIV vaccine under a $4 million contract, the San Diego biotech announced Wednesday.
Funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the contract with the IPPOX Foundation calls for publicly traded Vical to supply plasmid DNA for HIV vaccine clinical trials. The DNA makes an HIV antigen, which alerts the body’s immune system to attack the AIDS-causing virus.
The plasmids are expected to be used in primary and booster vaccine doses that will be evaluated in Phase 1 studies, and possible a Phase 2b clinical trial.
IPPOX is a Swiss non-profit that takes part in HIV vaccine trials as part of the Pox-Protein Public-Private Partnership, or P5, funded by the Gates Foundation.
The contract is a successor to a 2010 agreement with IPPOX to make plasmid DNA for the HIV vaccine trials.
Plasmids are circular DNA molecules that exist separately from the DNA in the nucleus. Vical’s core technology uses plasmid DNA for manufacture of a wide variety of proteins, including antigens.
Vical and the Gates Foundation also signed a memorandum of understanding to cooperate on other P5 vaccine projects.
The P5 initiative is funded through a variety of sources in a public-private partnership. Besides the Gates Foundation, other funders are the National Institutes of Health, the HIV Vaccine Trials Network, Novartis Vaccines and Diagnostics, Sanofi Pasteur, the South Africa Medical Research Council, the U.S. Military HIV Research Program, GlaxoSmithKline, and Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Vaudois.
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