ID Biomedical and DVC begin plague vaccine trial
The project is headed by DVC, the prime systems contractor for the Department of Defense Joint Vaccine Acquisition Program (JVAP), with ID Biomedical serving as the manufacturing development partner. ID Biomedical began its collaboration with DVC in 2003 for the development of a subunit plague vaccine. The open-label study will evaluate the safety, tolerability and immunogenicity of the vaccine candidate in healthy volunteers between the ages of 18 and 40. Testing is underway and will continue into 2005 at the University of Kentucky Chandler Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky. The plague vaccine candidate is designed to provide protection against the plague bacterium Yersinia pestis, and was originally identified and developed by scientists working at the US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID). Their work involved the identification of suitable protein antigens and the initial research of the processes used to assess the performance of the vaccine. Further development of the processes to produce and test the vaccine, as well as good manufacturing practices (GMP) manufacturing of the candidate antigen, was performed by ID Biomedical. "We are delighted to participate in a project that has the potential to serve significant needs in the US biodefense program. This project adds to our biodefense assets and is another positive step in the building of this business unit," said Dr George Lowell, chief scientific officer of biodefense at ID Biomedical. There is currently no licensed plague vaccine in the US. The development of plague vaccines is addressed in the NIH's National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases' strategic plan for biodefense research. Plague vaccine development is one of six priority research areas intended to accelerate the creation of new products to combat bioterrorism.