Global Collaboration Forms to Advance Japanese TB Vaccine Technology

27 January 2014 - Osaka, Japan and Rockville, MD, USA - Three Japanese companies and a global biotech non-profit organization signed a collaboration agreement on 26 December, 2013, on the preclinical and clinical development of new mucosal tuberculosis (TB) vaccines based on the human parainfluenza type-2 vector technology.

The National Institute of Biomedical Innovation (an Osaka-based independent administrative corporation), Aeras, (a global nonprofit biotech) and Create Vaccine (a new joint venture between Dainippon Sumitomo Pharma Co., Ltd. (DSP), and Japan BCG Laboratory) have come together to work on the development of mucosal vaccines. If successful, the mucosal vaccine will be the world’s first TB vaccine of its kind.

"These will be important candidates designed to target mucous membranes to keep TB from entering the lungs," said Tom Evans, MD, President and CEO of Aeras. "This type of collaboration among global experts is exactly the approach needed to find an effective vaccine that will end TB in Japanand around the world."

The collaboration is supported through a generous grant from the Global Health Innovative Technology Fund (GHIT), a new partnership formed to facilitate international partnerships that enable Japanese technology, innovations, and insights to play a more direct role in reducing disparities in health between the rich and the poor of the world.

The vaccine platform was created by Tsukuba Primate Research Center at NIBIO. "Based on the promising results of early research and the improved safety profile of candidates using this rhPIV2 platform, we believe that this platform has great possibility," said Dr. Yasuhiro Yasutomi, Director of Tsukuba Primate Research Center, NIBIO. "Further studies contribute to the ultimate goal of establishing a new vaccine strategy that can definitely prevent TB."

Vaccine development is a new business area which DSP is pursuing in line with its third mid-term business plan. Japan BCG has accumulated abundant experiences in TB vaccines through the production, marketing and export of the BCG vaccine. Create Vaccine was established in July 2013 by DSP and Japan BCG for the purposes of developing TB vaccines jointly with NIBIO and Aeras and marketing the developed products.

Aeras is engaged in the development of six TB vaccine candidates working globally in collaboration with academic, pharmaceutical and biotech industry partners and brings expertise in preclinical and clinical development, immunology and vaccine manufacturing. NIBIO has identified the "research and development of next-generation vaccines" as a priority area.