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GeoVax has received a patent for its malaria vaccine from the US Patent and Trademark Office.
GeoVax Labs, a biotechnology company focused on the development of vaccines and immunotherapies, announced on April 26, 2022 that the US Patent and Trademark Office has issued a patent that covers the company’s modified vaccinia Ankara (MVA) vector expressing certain antigens from the malaria parasite.
According to a company press release, malaria causes 228 million infections and 405,000 deaths annually. Vaccine candidates have failed to induce substantial protection despite decades of vaccine research. Most of these vaccines target only one stage of the malaria parasite’s life cycle. GeoVax’s MVA–virus-like particle (VLP) malaria vaccine candidates are designed to induce an immune response with durable functional antibodies and CD4+ and CD8+ T cell responses by incorporating antigens derived from multiple stages of the parasite’s life cycle.
GeoVax’s vaccine platform utilizes MVA, which is capable of carrying several vaccine antigens and expresses proteins that assemble into VLP immunogens in the person receiving the vaccine. VLP production can mimic the virus production that naturally occurs in an infection, which can help the immune system recognize, prevent, and control the target infection.
“We remain strongly committed to advancing innovation towards improving public health worldwide, and this patent reflects a potentially significant advance relative to malaria prevention,” said David Dodd, CEO and president of GeoVax, in the press release. “Our development priorities continue to be our COVID-19 vaccine, currently in Phase II clinical trials, and our cancer immunotherapy program, with Gedeptin as our lead product in a Phase I/II clinical trial for head and neck cancer. However, developing vaccines against global public health threats such as malaria, is also part of our longer-term focus. Collaborations with government and academic institutions, such as the NIH National Institutes of Health, USAID United States Agency for International Development, and the Burnet Institute, will continue to be components of our efforts to design, produce, and test novel vaccines against malaria. Our goals include developing such vaccines that are affordable, highly effective, safe, and can be distributed and administrated across various regions of the world in a simple manner.”