CAMBRIDGE, Mass.--()--Genocea Biosciences, a leading vaccine discovery and development company, today announced that it has licensed an extensive patent estate from the University of Washington and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center for 25 pending and issued patents related to herpes simplex virus (HSV) type 2 antigens. The addition of these patents complements the novel antigens discovered by Genocea’s unique and proprietary antigen discovery technology. The combination of Genocea’s novel intellectual property with the patent estate from the University of Washington provides the Company with a broad compendium of HSV antigen patents.
“HSV is a major health burden around the world and researchers at the University of Washington and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center have been committed to helping find a treatment for this disease that currently has no cure”
“This license, secured from the world’s leading academic laboratory focused on HSV antigen discovery, provides us a key strategic advantage and further strengthens our position as a leader in the area of HSV vaccine development,” said Staph Leavenworth Bakali, president and chief executive officer of Genocea. “We have made significant progress in the development of a vaccine for HSV and believe this broad intellectual property portfolio will enable us to further expand our vaccine research and development in this area.”
“HSV is a major health burden around the world and researchers at the University of Washington and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center have been committed to helping find a treatment for this disease that currently has no cure,” said Linden Rhoads, Vice Provost for Technology Transfer at the University of Washington’s Center for Commercialization. “We believe that our extensive portfolio of HSV antigens combined with Genocea’s state-of-the-art vaccine technology will bring us one step closer to seeing a safe and effective vaccine developed for the treatment of HSV.”
In the U.S., at least 45 million people ages 12 and older, or one out of five adolescents and adults, have had a genital HSV infection1 and the estimated economic burden on healthcare costs is over $1 billion2. Approximately one out of four women and almost one out of eight men are infected with genital HSV-23. Genital herpes is a sexually transmitted disease caused by the herpes simplex viruses HSV-1 or HSV-2, and in extreme cases, can appear in and about the eyes, esophagus, trachea, brain, and arms and legs. HSV has a great impact on human health globally due to its high prevalence, successful sexual transmissibility rate, association with patients with compromised immune systems, and its ability to recur. There is no vaccine approved today to treat or prevent HSV-2.
Genocea Biosciences was founded in 2006 to commercialize key breakthroughs in vaccine discovery and development. The Company’s proprietary T cell-directed antigen discovery program represents a broad platform with the potential to generate significant novel vaccines for multiple pathogens with high unmet medical need. Genocea is currently developing vaccines for Chlamydia trachomatis (a sexually transmitted disease agent causing an estimated 90 million cases worldwide), Streptococcus pneumoniae (pneumonia is the leading killer of children under the age of five worldwide) and other undisclosed targets. Genocea was recognized by BusinessWeek as one of the “World’s Most Intriguing Startups” for 2009. In 2008, Genocea was selected as “Best Vaccine Startup” at the World Vaccine Congress and was selected one of the 15 most exciting biotech startup companies by FierceBiotech. Genocea is backed by leading investors including Lux Capital Management, Polaris Venture Partners, S.R. One, the corporate venture arm of GlaxoSmithKline, Auriga Partners, Cycad Group, Morningside Ventures and Alexandria Real Estate Equities. Visit www.genocea.com for more information.
1 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Genital Herpes
Fact Sheet. http://www.cdc.gov/std/Herpes/STDFact-Herpes.htm
2 The Estimated Economic Burden of Genital Herpes in the US, Szycs et al; BMC Infectious Diseases, June 28, 2001