VIDO-InterVac signs exclusive license agreement for developing a novel vaccine against Respiratory Syncytial Virus

Sep 3, 2010

SASKATOON - The Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization-International Vaccine Centre (VIDO-InterVac) at the University of Saskatchewan announced today the signing of an exclusive license agreement with the Pan-Provincial Vaccine Enterprise Inc. (PREVENT) to develop a novel vaccine for children against respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).

The vaccine formulation includes an adjuvant combination which was developed in a collaboration involving scientists from the University of British Columbia, Dalhousie University and the International Vaccine Institute, Seoul, Korea, with funding from the Krembil Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. Scientists have found the adjuvant formulation has been highly effective in newborn animal studies and shows excellent promise against RSV and other diseases.

RSV is one of the leading viral causes of infant deaths and causes acute lower respiratory infection in infants and young children. RSV can produce severe pulmonary diseases including bronchiolitis and pneumonia, with 1-2% of infected children requiring hospitalization. An increased incidence of asthma has also been associated with these more severe lower respiratory tract infections.

Worldwide, this virus causes 64 million cases of RSV-associated acute lower respiratory infection in children under 5 years, and about 160,000 deaths per year. Treatment of RSV infection-related illness is a significant healthcare burden due the substantial costs for ambulatory care for RSV infection-related illness and costs for RSV infection-related hospitalization.

"RSV-related respiratory tract infections in infants and children can be very serious, requiring supplemental oxygen and intensive care to support recovery in the most serious cases," said VIDO-InterVac research scientist Dr. Sylvia van den Hurk. "Our research for a safe and effective vaccine against RSV will prevent thousands of hospital admissions, reduce healthcare cost and greatly improve the quality of life for young children."

Andrew Potter, director and CEO of VIDO-InterVac, concurs. "Virtually all children will be infected at least once before they are 2 years old. A vaccine to reduce RSV infections will have substantial impact on reducing the number of cases, and in turn improve the health of children worldwide."

"VIDO-InterVac's involvement in this research is another example of their expertise in developing vaccines against infectious diseases", said Karen Chad, vice-president research for the University of Saskatchewan.

PREVENT and VIDO-InterVac will collaborate on developing vaccine formulations for preclinical studies and clinical trials.

About VIDO-InterVac: Created in 1975, VIDO-InterVac has Containment Level 2 and 3 facilities that include virology, immunology, bacteriology and biochemistry labs and a 160-acre research station. A research organization of the University of Saskatchewan with operating support from provincial and federal governments as well as industry grants, VIDO-InterVac hold 80+ U.S. patents and has developed technology for eight commercial vaccines.