Published 20th October, 2011
Coridon Pty Ltd, a University of Queensland (UQ) start-up company established to commercialise Professor Ian Frazer’s work in developing next generation DNA vaccines, has successfully completed pre-clinical efficacy testing of its prototype Herpes Simplex Virus 2 (HSV-2) vaccine, with outstanding results. The company will now look to progress the program into clinical studies.
Working at the UQ Diamantina Institute, Coridon is developing DNA vaccines for the prevention and treatment for a range of infectious diseases and cancers in humans, utilising the company’s patented technology.
Collaborating with Professor David Koelle and his colleagues at the University of Washington in Seattle, Coridon tested a number of different formulations of Coridon’s prototype vaccine. These proved 100% effective at protecting animals against HSV-2 infection, confirming an earlier study with the University of Washington which also demonstrated 90-100% protection against infection. These results were presented at the 5th Vaccine and ISV Annual Global Congress in Seattle earlier this month.
Coridon has now secured additional funding from major investor Allied Healthcare Group (ASX: AHZ) to begin manufacturing the vaccine and conduct pre-clinical safety studies before testing the vaccine in a Phase I clinical study.
“The results of our herpes vaccine mark the beginning of an exciting period," said Professor Frazer.
"Over the next 12 months, we expect pivotal data showing that our HSV vaccine, which incorporates Coridon optimisation technology, produces similar immune responses in the clinic to those seen in the animal trials.”
Professor Matt Brown, Director of The University of Queensland Diamantina Institute, said the collaborative approach with researchers and Coridon has paved the way for the success of such critical technology.
“We are very excited at The University of Queensland Diamantina Institute to be partnering with Coridon in developing this breakthrough vaccine technology, which promises to help both prevent and treat infections with HSV-2, which causes a common and unpleasant viral illness.”
“This vaccine success is made possible by bringing together UQDI’s excellence in immunology research with private industry and other leading international researchers.”
“We look forward to working with Coridon in developing this vaccine as it moves towards clinical trials.”
Allied Healthcare Group’s Managing Director, Mr Lee Rodne, said: “These data provide fantastic validation to the Coridon platform which could be applied to a number of infectious diseases. We are excited about the path forward for the program as it moves toward clinical studies.”
Professor Frazer’s work at Coridon follows the success of his discovery with the late Dr Jian Zhou of a basis for cervical cancer vaccine Gardasil, also commercialised by UniQuest.
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UQDI is a modern research facility where clinical and basic science converge in the translational research of cancer and disorders of immune regulation. Headed by Professor Matthew Brown, the Institute is host to over 200 researchers, students and support staff. It lays claim to global, world-changing discoveries such as the world’s first cervical cancer vaccine. Based at Brisbane’s leading teaching hospital, the Princess Alexandra Hospital, UQDI has strong clinical interactions and world-class facilities that enable researchers to be at the forefront of their fields. Our researchers focus their efforts on turning their scientific discoveries into better treatments for diseases including a variety of cancers, osteoporosis, arthritis and other autoimmune diseases.
Coridon was founded in 2000 by the founder inventor Prof Ian Frazer as a private unlisted company, to develop and commercialise patented technology for improving immune responses to DNA vaccines licensed by UniQuest Pty Ltd and developed at the University of Queensland. The company has laboratories within the research facility at the Princess Alexandra Hospital in Brisbane, working in collaboration with the University of Queensland’s Diamantina Institute. The company’s overall objective is to utilise its unique optimisation technology to produce prophylactic and/or therapeutic DNA vaccines for a range of infectious diseases and cancers in humans. Product development is currently focused on herpes virus vaccines. Coridon has 6 granted US patents protecting its codon optimisation DNA technology, which enhances protein expression in the cell or tissue targeted and results in an improved humoral response. The second component of the technology, also patent protected, is to use a mixture of DNAs encoding ubiquitinated and non ubiquitinated proteins. This strategy enhances the degradation of the protein and optimises T cell responses, while preserving structural epitopes necessary for B cells responses, resulting in vaccines with prophylactic and therapeutic potential. The preclinical studies of the vaccine, using doses ranging from 0.3µg to 30µg showed that five out of ten vaccine formulations gave 100% protection in a HSV-2 infection challenge model at 50 times the lethal dose and two vaccine formulations gave 100% protection at 500 times the lethal dose.
About UniQuest Pty Limited
Established by The University of Queensland in 1984, UniQuest is widely recognised as one of Australia’s largest and most successful university commercialisation groups, benchmarking in the top tier of technology transfer worldwide. From an intellectual property portfolio of 1,500+ patents it has created over 60 companies, and since 2000 UniQuest and its start-ups have raised more than $400 million to take university technologies to market. Annual sales of products using UQ technology and licensed by UniQuest are running at $3 billion. UniQuest now commercialises innovations developed at The University of Queensland and its commercialisation partner institutions: the University of Wollongong, University of Technology Sydney, James Cook University, University of Tasmania, Mater Medical Research Institute, and Queensland Health. UniQuest also provides access to an expansive and exclusive network of independent academics to tailor a consulting or project R&D solution to meet the diverse needs of industry and government, facilitating some 500 consulting, expert opinion, testing, and contract research services each year. UniQuest is also a leading Australasian provider of international development assistance recognised for excellence in technical leadership, management and research. Working with agencies such as AusAID, NZAID, the Asian Development Bank and the World Bank, UniQuest has developed and implemented more than 400 projects in 46 countries throughout the Pacific, South-East Asia, the Indian sub-continent and Africa.
According to the Centers for Disease Control in the USA, genital herpes affects more than 1 in 6 Americans between ages 14 and 49. This disease often results in recurrent painful sores in the genital area. HSV-2 is the major causative agent of genital herpes. As well as pain and discomfort to infected individuals, the virus can have serious health implications for babies born to infected women. Herpes is also believed to aid in the transmission of HIV. Current herpes treatment involves the use of antiviral drugs which can reduce, but not eliminate, outbreaks and shedding and therefore do not prevent spread of the disease. According to research reported in Biomed Central’s journal BMC Infectious Diseases, the economic burden of genital HSV infection and resulting complications has been estimated to be greater than $1 billion annually in the USA alone.