Griffith University will partner with a Chinese pharmaceutical,Â Olymvax Biopharmaceuticals Inc., for a new vaccine that has the enormous potential to help millions.
Researchers from Griffith University’s Institute for Glycomics have announced that they will begin Phase 1 clinical trials on a new, needle-free vaccine targeted at Streptococcus A infection, the cause of strep throat and rheumatic heart disease.
Griffith University signed the collaborative and license agreement with Olymvax to discover, develop and commercialise its Group A Streptococcus (GAS) vaccine technology exclusively for Greater China.
Strep A bacteria are responsible for a wide range of illnesses, from common infections like ‘school sores’ and strep throat, to deadly toxic shock and rheumatic heart disease. Even the rather gruesome sounding flesh-eating disease has this group of bacteria to blame. More than 500,000 people worldwide dieÂ each yearÂ from diseases caused by these bacteria and indigenous Australians are especially vulnerable.
â€œThe GAS vaccine has enormous potential to broadly impact human health,â€ said Professor Good.
â€œThe availability of a safe and effective GAS vaccine could address a huge unmet public health demand, preventing a wide variety of potentially life-threatening complications and diseases in humans worldwide attributable to this organism.
â€œThis collaborative partnership represents a significant milestone in the Instituteâ€™s commercialization success working together with partners to accelerate the commercial development of innovative vaccine candidates.
â€œThis agreement is an important step forward in the international roll-out of our vaccine technology,â€ Professor Good said.
Griffith University Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Ian Oâ€™Connor welcomed the co-agreement and congratulated those involved.
Vaccine licensing deal
â€œThis is a major vaccine licensing deal for the university, and is a wonderful outcome for the Institute for Glycomics, the researchers and Olymvax,â€ Professor Oâ€™Connor said.
â€œIt is a perfectÂ example of Glycomicsâ€™ pioneering research, being further developed with great potential to benefit society at large,â€ he said.
China, as an emerging vaccine market, represents a major opportunity for the Institute for Glycomics.
â€œWe are pleased to partner with the Institute for Glycomics to develop the GAS vaccine technology, which represent commercially validated targets for the treatment of Strep A,â€ added Olymvax BioPharmaceuticals Inc. Chairman, Mr Shaowen Fan.
â€œWe believe that combining the Instituteâ€™s platform with Olymvaxâ€™s capabilities will help us rapidly develop these assets for the Chinese market.â€
Institute for Glycomics Director, Professor Mark von Itzstein, said this partnership highlights the calibre of research being undertaken at the Institute.
â€œWe are delighted that Olymvax has collaborated with us and will take our basic knowledge that we have gone through in pre-clinical studies to end up with a vaccine candidate against this deadly pathogen.â€
Queensland Minister for Health and Ambulance Services Cameron Dick said the agreement showcased the strength of Queenslandâ€™s world-recognised excellence in health and medical research, where great ideas can become reality.
â€œAs a state, it is vital that we are attracting investment in this type of quality research and innovation which translates into improved health services and technologies – not just for Queensland, but globally,â€ he said.
â€œInitiatives like this further our governmentâ€™s aim to explore and strengthen the contribution the health sector can make to Queenslandâ€™s economy.â€
The Minister said Â collaboration was an integral part of the work at the Institute for Glycomics, a unique and world-leading centre in translational biomedical research for the discovery of 21st century drugs and vaccines that address existing and emerging diseases of global impact.
â€œOur government is a strong supporter of this outstanding initiative, which is recognising and harnessing the potential of new technology to better health outcomes,â€ he said.