According to the World Health Organization, more than half a billion people worldwide are infected with the herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2), the major causative agent of genital herpes. With nearly 24 million new infections occurring each year, HSV-2 causes discomfort and also has serious health implications for babies born via infected mothers. The herpes virus is also believed to aid in the transmission of HIV.
Current HSV treatment involves the use of antiviral drugs which can reduce, but not eliminate, outbreaks and virus shedding, and therefore does not cure or prevent spread of the disease. Australian biotechnology company, Coridon, is trying to change that.
Coridon’s DNA Vaccine
Founded in 2000 by Professor Ian Frazer (whose research resulted in the blockbuster HPV vaccines – Gardasil®, marketed by Merck, and Cervarix®, marketed by GlaxoSmithKline), Coridon has developed a combined prophylactic and therapeutic HSV-2 vaccine that has demonstrated 100% protection in animal models. Currently planning a phase-1 clinical evaluation, Coridon chose VGXI to manufacture the DNA vaccine for its trial.
How VGXI Helped
Coridon decided it was best to avoid the use of antibiotic resistance genes in their plasmid and elected to implement Nature Technology’s antibiotic-free fermentation system. Working to meet its unique needs, VGXI successfully implemented and scaled the new fermentation system in less than two months allowing Coridon to meet its clinical deadline.
According to Neil Finlayson, Coridon’s CEO, “We chose VGXI to supply the DNA vaccine for our herpes clinical trial because VGXI’s experience allowed us to design a schedule that cut production time by 20% saving us thousands of dollars, whilst meeting all our requirements for the product.”