NEW ORLEANS--(BUSINESS WIRE)--MiniVax, Inc. (MiniVax), a company focused on the development of novel treatments for opportunistic bacterial and fungal infections, recently announced an update on the progress of its Pneumocystis (PC) vaccine candidate at the 2012 America Thoracic Society (ATS) Conference in San Francisco, CA. The presented poster, entitled “Novel Vaccine Strategies to Prevent Infection with Murina,” indicates that DNA immunization with MiniVax’s proprietary mini-Kexin technology results in significant anti-Pneumocystis antibody responses as well as a reduced fungal load. These data support further development of MiniVax’s technology as a vaccine for Pneumocystis pneumonia (PCP). MiniVax is taking this lead program, a vaccine for PCP, into full product development and is now undertaking studies prior to clinical development.
The study was prompted by previous investigations that demonstrated that Kexin, a protease encoded by Pneumocystis (PC), results in protection in mice against a PC challenge, but Kexin is not conserved among PC species, which are genetically divergent in mammalian hosts. MiniVax’s mini-Kexin was identified as a region of Kexin that is conserved among species of PC and was tested in secreted and non-secreted forms to determine which would be the most appropriate anti-PC vaccine. Screening determined that secreted mini-Kexin is the best vaccine candidate. Mini-Kexin plasmids were constructed and injected into mice three times, three weeks apart. The mice were then depleted of CD4+ T cells and challenged with PC. Results of the mice study showed that the CD4+ T cell depleted mice that received mini-Kexin plasmids were significantly protected against PC challenge compared to control mice. In addition, prime-boost with secreted mini-Kexin induced a significant anti-PC antibody response and protected mice against PC challenge.
Dr. A. Ray Chaudhuri, MiniVax’s CEO, stated, “We are very excited about the results of current tests for our PCP vaccine. We look forward to approaching the FDA soon regarding this vaccine and getting it to the people who need it.”
MiniVax is a New Orleans, LA based company that specializes in the research and development of novel vaccines and therapeutics for the treatment and prevention of opportunistic fungal and bacterial infections. MiniVax’s lead product is a vaccine against the opportunistic fungal infection Pneumocystis pneumonia (PCP), which predominately affects immunocompromised individuals. MiniVax anticipates beginning in-human FDA clinical trials for the vaccine in 2013. A secondary focus of MiniVax is the development of a monoclonal antibody therapeutic for the treatment of those individuals who are already suffering from PCP. MiniVax occupies office and laboratory space at the New Orleans BioInnovation Center (NOBIC).