To: National Desk
WASHINGTON, June 9 /U.S. Newswire/ -- Bavarian Nordic, the Danish biopharmaceutical company developing a new, safer smallpox vaccine, today said that the results of an animal study have confirmed that the vaccine, Imvamune TM, provides the same level of protection as traditional vaccines.
The study, published in the June issue of Journal of Virology, demonstrated that Imvamune protects monkeys from monkeypox, a virus closely related to smallpox. In addition, the study found that Imvamune, an MVA- (Modified Vaccinia Ankara) based vaccine, demonstrated for the first time that an MVA-based vaccine could protect monkeys from a deadly monkeypox infection induced through the lungs, the natural route of infection.
Peter Wulff, President and CEO of Bavarian Nordic ( http://www.bavarian-nordic.com ), called the study ''an encouraging result'' in the development of Imvamune, and said: ''Demonstration of efficacy in monkeys is vital in presenting to regulatory authorities that Imvamune is efficacious against smallpox infection. Reaching this milestone comes at a pivotal point in time as the U.S. government decides to stockpile an MVA-based vaccine.''
Wulff said Imvamune is ''clearly the best-characterized MVA-based vaccine, and now with these new results, is the only vaccine candidate with the critical efficacy data.''
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is expected to award a contract later this year for production and supply of the new MVA-based smallpox vaccine because current vaccines cause serious complications in as much as 25 percent of the general population.
Animal data is the only approved method of demonstrating efficacy of a smallpox vaccine against smallpox infection in humans.