Profectus BioSciences receives grant for Ebola and Marburg vaccine

Profectus BioSciences, a therapeutic and vaccine development company, and the Galveston National Laboratory have received a five year, $5.4 million grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

The grant will support the development of a trivalent vaccine to protect against all major strains of Marburg and Ebola viruses. The Marburg and Ebola viruses, which are two members of the filovirus family of hemorrhagic fever viruses, are classified by the NIAID and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as Category A Priority Pathogens.

The vaccine would be the first pre- or post-exposure intervention available for the viruses in the event of deliberate misuse, laboratory accident or natural outbreak. Profectus has developed a vaccine delivery system that is highly immunogenic based on the replication-competent recombinant vesicular stomatitis virus. Vectors of the virus are altered with recombinant genetic techniques to express surface glycoproteins from Marburg and Ebola viruses.

"Profectus is very pleased the NIH and the scientific community have recognized the potential of an rVSV-vectored filovirus vaccine to provide protection against these bio-threat agents," John Eldridge, the chief scientific officer of Profectus, said. "In addition to providing single-dose protection, this platform provides the high manufacturing yields that allow rapid and economic production."

Preclinical studies have shown that a single injection of the rVSV-Ebola vaccine is able to protect non-human primates and guinea pigs against a highly pathogenic Zaire Ebola species.

"Proving the potential of this vaccine would be an amazing step forward in combating these deadly filoviruses," Tom Geisberg, an investigator at GNL, said. "The unique resources of the GNL's BSL4 lab provide the confines to test the Profectus candidate vaccine safely and effectively and we look forward to carrying out the task that NIH has set for us."