SEATTLE (April 30, 2014) – Etubics Corporation, a Seattle based clinical stage biotechnology company focused on developing immunotherapeutics and vaccines with a proprietary platform that stimulates a long lasting “active” immune response, announced today that it has been awarded a grant of $4.4 million from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) to develop a universal influenza vaccine (Grant Number: 1R01AI111364). The scope will be done in conjunction with the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB), Galveston, TX.
A study conducted by Centers for Disease Control and published in the Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA, volume 292, no. 11) in September 2004 provided information on the number of people in the United States that are hospitalized from seasonal influenza-related complications each year. The study was based on records from 1979 to 2001 from approximately 500 hospitals across the United States. The study concluded that, on average, more than 200,000 people in the United States are hospitalized each year for respiratory and heart conditions illnesses associated with seasonal influenza virus infections.
The grant program employs a safe and immunogenic vaccine platform to develop a universal influenza vaccine. We intend to construct, produce and test in animals a multivalent Ad5 [E1-, E2b-] based vaccine containing various fused antigens of the A and B strains of influenza; produce large quantities of the new vaccine in order to help support an I nvestigational New Drug application to the FDA for a Phase 1 clinical trial; and conduct studies to determine the impact of long term storage approaches on the stability and potency of the new vaccine.
The proposed vaccine addresses the lack of cross-reactive protection observed in present-day influenza vaccines. The grant may support the pre-clinical experiments which could allow Etubics to develop a multivalent vaccine that induces both protective cell-mediated immunity and antibody responses. These studies are anticipated to advance into clinical trials and may support the development of a broadly cross-reactive influenza vaccine. A universal influenza vaccine may help reduce the cost of healthcare due to influenza and reduce loss of life due to this disease.
Dr. Frank Jones, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Etubics Corporation stated, “We are grateful to the NIAID for the support of our efforts to develop a much needed universal influenza vaccine. The recent H1N1 pandemic has taught us that a broad cross-reacting influenza vaccine is needed to protect against often fatal outbreaks as well as seasonal influenza.”
Dr. Slobodan Paessler, who is a professor in the Pathology Department and director of Preclinical Studies Core in the Galveston National Laboratory at UTMB and co-principal investigator on this NIAID grant said, “Successful work over the last several years combined with the support from the Institute for Human Infections and Immunity here at UTMB, is becoming nationally and internationally recognized. This project will enhance our visibility in the area of vaccine development against influenza A and B and will generate additional high-skilled jobs in Galveston.”
The UTMB has broad capabilities in the area of vaccine development and infectious diseases. The Sealy Center for Vaccine Development is a comprehensive academic vaccine center with activities in all areas of the vaccine development pathway from discovery, to preclinical development, to clinical trials, to outreach and policy studies. This includes preclinical studies of safety and immunogenicity in animal models, with supporting regulatory capabilities, and clinical trials in all ages from neonates to senior citizens. We believe these resources provide an excellent infrastructure to support this project as it moves forward through the vaccine development pathway to ultimately become a licensed vaccine.
Etubics Corporation, based in Seattle, Wash., is a next generation clinical stage bio-pharmaceutical company, which has developed a proprietary platform technology consisting of a next generation Adenovirus Vector Vaccine Platform and a manufacturing E.C7 human cell line, collectively the Etubics Platform. Clinical work to date shows that the Etubics Platform overcomes problems associated with existing adenovirus vectors. The Company’s Platform can be used to efficiently and rapidly develop immunotherapeutic drugs and preventive vaccines for a wide range of infectious diseases and cancers .
Statements herein relating to future financial, business performance, conditions or strategies and other financial and business matters, including expectations regarding future revenues and operating expenses, are forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act. Etubics is a private company. Etubics cautions that these forward-looking statements are subject to numerous assumptions, risks and uncertainties which change over time. Factors that may cause actual results to differ materially from the results discussed in the forward looking statements or historical experience include risks and uncertainties, including the failure by Etubics to secure and maintain relationships with collaborators; risks relating to the early state of Etubics’s product candidates under development; uncertainties relating to clinical trials and regulatory requirements and actions; risks relating to the commercialization, if any, of Etubics proposed product candidates; competitive risks to marketed products; dependence on the efforts of third parties; dependence on intellectual property; and risks that it may lack the financial resources and access to capital to fund its operations. Further information on the factors and risks that could affect Etubics’s offices, business, financial conditions and results of operations, are contained in Etubics’s documents on file at the Company. These forward-looking statements speak only as of the date of this press release and Etubics assumes no duty to update forward-looking statements.
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