SAN DIEGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Ichor Medical Systems (Ichor) of San Diego announced today that they have received an $11 million contract from the US Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA). The four-year contract will fund an assessment of the immunogenicity in humans of a broad spectrum DNA vaccine candidate developed in collaboration with the United States Army Medical Research Institute for infectious diseases (USAMRIID) against three strains of equine encephalitis virus (EEV), Venezuelan (VEEV), eastern (EEEV), and western (WEEV), delivered using Ichor’s TriGrid™ electroporation system.
The development of medical countermeasures for biodefense agents and emerging pathogens has been identified as a priority by DTRA and related government agencies. VEEV, WEEV, and EEEV are targets of particular interest for vaccine development. These pathogens are listed as Category B agents by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and are considered important biodefense risks in part due to their stability when aerosolized, as well as the ability to rapidly incapacitate infected subjects. In addition, the EEV strains have potential public health significance as sustained outbreaks of EEV have been reported in several countries including Columbia, Venezuela, Mexico, and the US. Since there are currently no effective therapies available for treatment of EEV infected individuals, a vaccine could play an important role in the event of an intentionally caused or natural outbreak.
Building on Ichor’s ongoing DTRA funded development of a monovalent VEEV DNA vaccine candidate in collaboration with USAMRIID, the present program will include production, non-clinical testing, and Phase I clinical evaluation of monovalent and trivalent EEV DNA vaccine candidates. The vaccine candidates will be delivered intradermally or intramuscularly with the TriGrid™ electroporation system in order to identify the most suitable immunization conditions for advancement of a product candidate.
Bob Bernard, Ichor CEO, commented, “We are excited to continue our collaboration with USMARIID in developing biodefense vaccines delivered with Ichor’s TriGrid™. In addition to the direct progress made towards a multivalent EEV vaccine, the proposed program will also contribute platform learning that can be applied to other infectious disease indications. Furthermore, successful demonstration of effective multivalent immunization in humans would position the TriGrid™ favorably for use in other broad spectrum biodefense vaccine applications.”
About Ichor Medical Systems
Ichor Medical Systems’ TriGrid™ Delivery System (TriGrid) is the first integrated and fully automated device for electroporation-mediated DNA administration in humans. Ichor, a privately-held biotech company based in San Diego, CA, is collaborating with partners to provide its enabling TriGrid platform as a means for delivery of DNA drugs and vaccines in disease indications such as melanoma, malaria, hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection, as well as for multiple biodefense agents. For further information, visit http://www.ichorms.com.
[The information contained in this press release does not necessarily reflect the position or the policy of the Government and no official endorsement should be inferred.]