NewLink, Merck Get US Ebola Vaccine Contract

BioProtection Systems (BPS), a subsidiary of NewLink Genetics Corporation, a biopharmaceutical company focused on immunotherapies, and Merck & Co. have been awarded a $30 million contract from the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) of the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to support the manufacturing and development activities of NewLink’s investigational rVSV-EBOV (Ebola) vaccine candidate, including clinical development through a new 330-person Phase Ib study.

The vaccine candidate was initially developed by the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), and is now being developed under an exclusive licensing and collaboration agreement between NewLink Genetics and Merck. The rVSV-EBOV (Ebola) vaccine candidate is currently being evaluated in Phase I clinical studies in humans. Pending the results of Phase I trials underway, the US National Institutes of Health has announced plans to initiate, in early 2015, a large randomized, controlled Phase II/III study to evaluate the safety and efficacy of this and another investigational Ebola vaccine candidate.

BPS is focused on the research, development and commercialization of vaccines. BPS is focused on control of emerging infectious diseases, including improvement of existing vaccines and providing rapid-response prophylactic and therapeutic treatment for pathogens most likely to enter the human population through pandemics or acts of bioterrorism. BPS is based on three core technologies that can be leveraged into the infectious disease or biodefense fields. The first technology is a replication-competent recombinant vesicular stomatitis virus, or rVSV, an advanced vaccine technology developed for the Marburg and Ebola viruses. The second is its HyperAcute immunotherapy technology, which is currently focused on enhancing vaccines for influenza but can be adapted to a number of vaccines. The third technology is based on the yellow fever virus vaccine strain.

Source: NewLink Genetics

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