The Sabin Vaccine Institute has licensed technology from GlaxoSmithKline PLC to develop vaccines for the Ebola and Marburg viruses, which the U.K. pharmaceutical giant acquired through the purchase of specialist vaccines-maker Okairos AG in 2013.
Under the agreement, nonprofit Sabin will gain certain licensing and patent rights to three vaccine candidates for the Ebola Zaire and Ebola Sudan viruses, plus the closely related Marburg virus. No vaccines have so far been developed to prevent infection with these three viruses, which cause hemorrhagic fever and death in as many as 50% of cases, according to a joint press release issued Aug. 6.
An ongoing outbreak of the Ebola Zaire virus in the Democratic Republic of Congo has killed 1,600 people and has been declared a public health emergency of international concern by the World Health Organization.
Okairos originally developed the three vaccine candidates in collaboration with the U.S. National Institutes of Health. After buying Okairos, GSK further advanced the vaccines using its proprietary ChAd3 platform. The Ebola Zaire vaccine was advanced to phase 2 development while the Ebola Sudan vaccine was tested in three phase 1 trials and is about to be tested in another phase 1 trial. The Marburg vaccine is undergoing a phase 1 study in the U.S.
The vaccines have so far been administered to 5,000 adults and 600 children during the trials and have demonstrated a strong safety profile and immune response.
Washington, D.C.-based Sabin has entered into a research collaboration with the Vaccine Research Center at the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases to further develop the vaccines and eventually move them toward regulatory approval.
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.