LONDON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Prokarium today announced it has received an investment of £4.59 million from Wellcome to fund two clinical trials of its lead programme, Entervax™, a bivalent vaccine against enteric fever.
“Funding from a prestigious foundation such as the Wellcome Trust underlines the strength of our approach and provides the support necessary to progress to the clinic,” said Ted Fjallman, Ph.D, Chief Executive Officer, Prokarium. “Entervax™ performed as expected in the preclinical and nonclinical models and we look forward to building on the results we observed previously with our monovalent typhoid vaccine candidate, ZH9. Enteric fever, primarily caused by Salmonella enterica serovars Typhi and Paratyphi A, is the most common bacterial bloodstream infection in South Asia and causes significant morbidity and mortality in areas with poor sanitation. Our oral vaccine candidate being developed for the prevention of enteric fever could provide a significant public health benefit for these at-risk populations in endemic regions and beyond.”
“This is the first new investment Wellcome has made within its new Affordable Innovations for Global Health Flagship. We’re delighted to build this long-term partnership with Prokarium to reduce the burden of enteric fever by accelerating the development and implementation of new affordable technologies and interventions,” said Sally Nicholas, Partner, the Wellcome Trust.
Entervax™ is based on the Vaxonella® platform and is the combination of Prokarium’s proprietary strain ZH9 (Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi ZH9), which has been safely administered to 351 individuals including 101 children in the UK, US and Vietnam, plus a novel strain modified to express antigens specific to Salmonella Paratyphi A. The funding from Wellcome will be used for a Phase 1 study in the UK and a Phase 1b age-descending, dose-escalation study in an endemic region in South Asia. The Phase 1 study is a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study designed to evaluate the safety and immunogenicity of the bivalent vaccine. The company plans to initiate dosing in the first half 2020.
Prokarium is a venture-backed biotechnology company developing microbial immunotherapies and vaccines. The company’s vaccines are designed to generate broad immune responses including mucosal, systemic and cellular immunity. They are provided as a convenient oral capsule or as a sachet for young children, rather than requiring injection. Prokarium believes that oral vaccines are easier to distribute and administer than injectable vaccines and have the potential to significantly increase vaccination rates. Prokarium’s development programmes include microbial immunotherapies for the treatment of solid tumours, as well as other oral vaccines that are designed to protect against Chlamydia trachomatis and Yersinia pestis, the latter being developed with the UK government.
About Enteric Fever
Enteric fever, a preventable illness caused by Salmonella enterica serovars Typhi and Paratyphi, is the most common bacterial bloodstream infection in South Asia. Despite progress being made in controlling enteric fever in several parts of the world, it remains an important public health burden in South Asia and Africa. It has been estimated to cause >15 million illnesses and nearly 153,000 deaths worldwide annually and the incidence is estimated to be over 100 per 100,000 population.
In 2016, an outbreak of an extensively drug resistant (XDR) strain spread in Pakistan with the haplotype, H58, being known to be a common cause of multi-drug resistant (MDR) typhoid fever across Asia and Africa. Since vaccination is the most effective medical intervention to stop the spread of disease and decrease antimicrobial use, novel vaccines against enteric fever have become more important than ever.
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