This new vaccine could tackle both Zika and Dengue at once

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These potentially fatal diseases have reached pandemic proportions and are starting to threaten the Western world. Excivion (UK) and Xenetic (US) have announced a partnership to develop a combined vaccine for Dengue and Zika Viruses using new vaccine delivery technology. 

3b1f68_ba5b3b597726427fb24832b0a06ab4a9~mv2Following on Sanofi’s initiatives to combat the spread of Zika and Dengue viruses, a transatlantic partnership between Xenetic and Excivion has emerged to develop a unique Dengue and Zika virus combination vaccine. Not only would this drug kill those two birds with one stone, it would obviate the problem that some dengue vaccines exacerbate Zika infections. Excivion specialises in antigen design for flaviviral vaccines, and this partnership gives it access to Xenetic’s new vaccine delivery technology, IMUXEN™, to complete the package.

Xenetic, an American company, developed this technology to enhance the potency of vaccine antigens and decrease their temperature sensitivity so that they can be transported without constant refrigeration and stockpiled for pandemic emergencies. This innovation is particularly valuable in efforts to fight infectious disease in underdeveloped regions of the world, such as parts of South America, Southeast Asia and Africa.

Figure 1. Vaccines are central to disease prevention and epidemic response.
Figure 1. Vaccines are central to disease prevention and epidemic response.

Details of the collaboration between Excivion and Xenetic are sparse. However, it may be modelled on Xenetic’s existing partnership with Shire to develop a new series of polysialyated blood coagulation factors. In this precedent, Xenetic granted Shire a royalty-bearing R&D license to use PolyXen, which conjugates polysialic acid into blood-clotting factors. In exchange, Xenetic may receive royalties and up to $100M in regulatory and sales target payments. Additionally, Shire invested $10M in Xenetic, making it one of the company’s largest shareholders.

Perhaps this setup is what we can expect for the new deal between Xenetic and Excivion.

Featured Image: Herbal shizz (CC2.0, Lisa Roe/Flickr)
Figure 1: Vacunas (CC0 1.0/Public Domain, Carlos Reusser Monsalvez/Flickr)



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