Drug Research
Drug Discovery & Development

Xenetic Biosciences partners with Excivion to develop novel combined Zika and Dengue vaccine

Published 19 August 2016

Xenetic Biosciences has commenced a collaboration with Excivion to develop a vaccine against Zika and dengue viruses.

As part of the collaboration, Xenetic’s proprietary IMUXEN Technology will be used to develop the vaccine. Excivion is a private UK company that has developed a proprietary antigen design platform for viral vaccines which it is applying to flavivirus infections.

Commenting on the collaboration, Scott Maguire, CEO of Xenetic, stated, “We are very pleased to be working with Excivion to develop this important vaccine that will be designed to address these serious pandemic diseases that have spread worldwide. There is a growing sense of urgency for a solution since the unexpected emergence of Zika in Florida, which now represents a real and immediate threat in the United States.

The collaboration exploits a new paradigm in rational vaccine design pioneered by Excivion, based on an understanding of the interacting epidemiology of these diseases, with great potential for synergy with Xenetic’s IMUXEN vaccine delivery platform.

Importantly, this platform enhances the potency of vaccine antigens and provides for cold-chain-free distribution and stockpiling of vaccines for pandemic emergencies.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control, Zika and dengue viruses are responsible for a serious burden of morbidity and mortality across the globe.

Dengue infection can give rise to a potentially fatal hemorrhagic fever. These concerns were accentuated recently by formal recognition that Zika infection of pregnant women is linked to the occurrence of ‘microcephaly’ resulting in an underdeveloped brain in their offspring, as well as Guillain-Barré syndrome (an autoimmune disorder of the peripheral nervous system) in adults.

Commentators have noted that some dengue vaccines in development before the emergence of Zika may have the potential to worsen Zika infection. The present vaccine is expressly designed to avoid that risk.

Commenting on the potential synergy of the IMUXEN™ and antigen-design platforms, Peter Laing, CEO of Excivion, stated, “Xenetic’s IMUXEN™ delivery platform provides simultaneously a prime and boost effect with a single shot of vaccine. This remarkable feature is ideal for our purpose, because dengue and Zika vaccines are required to stimulate strong and long-lasting immune responses. We are pleased that the present collaboration with Xenetic provides access to this powerful technology and grateful for the generous support and validation of the UK Government who are funding this work via a contract under the Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) from the UK’s innovation agency, Innovate UK.”

Source: Company Press Release