Grid Biosciences has signed a license agreement for the development of a vaccine against Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
The agreement includes access to NIH’s patent rights in EBV envelope proteins that the virus uses to gain entry into human cells.
The agreement allows Grid Biosciences to use these materials and patent rights owned by the NIH for the worldwide development, manufacture, and commercialization of EBV vaccines for the protection from viral infection and diseases associated with EBV.
EBV is the causative agent of infectious mononucleosis and is associated with certain malignancies and autoimmune diseases, such as nasopharyngeal carcinoma, gastric cancer, Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, Burkitt’s lymphoma, and multiple sclerosis. There are no vaccines nor targeted therapies currently licensed for EBV infection.
Jeffrey Cohen, chief of the Laboratory of Infectious Diseases, and his laboratory, in collaboration with the Vaccine Research Center at NIAID, have designed and constructed EBV vaccine candidates that employ fusion proteins consisting of the immunogenic portions of EBV envelope proteins.
In preclinical testing, these vaccine candidates elicited neutralizing antibody titers in immunized mice that were substantially higher than those seen in humans naturally infected with EBV.
Daniel-Joseph Leung, CEO of Grid Biosciences, said: “This agreement paves the way for us to advance the development of Dr. Cohen and the NIH’s extraordinary work. It is an important step towards protecting people worldwide from infectious diseases.”