Illustration of the CMV life cycle from viral entry to egress of new infectious virions.
Jun 25, 2013, Vical Incorporated and Astellas Pharma Inc. today announced the initiation of a multinational Phase 3 registration trial of ASP0113 (TransVax(TM)), in approximately 500 hematopoietic cell transplant (HCT) recipients. Vical and Astellas entered into exclusive worldwide license agreements in 2011 to develop and commercialize ASP0113, Vical’s investigational therapeutic vaccine designed to control cytomegalovirus (CMV) in transplant recipients. Astellas is conducting the trial, and Vical is providing development, regulatory and manufacturing support. The companies expect to begin a separate Phase 2 trial of ASP0113 in solid organ transplant (SOT) recipients later this year.
ASP0113 is an investigational bivalent DNA vaccine containing plasmids (closed loops of DNA) encoding human CMV pp65 and gB antigens for induction of both cellular and humoral immune responses. ASP0113 is formulated with a proprietary poloxamer-based delivery system. ASP0113 has received orphan drug designation in the United States and Europe for HCT and SOT patients.
CMV is a herpes virus that infects more than half of all adults in the United States by age 40, and is even more widespread in developing countries. A healthy immune system typically protects an infected person against CMV disease, but does not prevent or clear latent infection, and those whose immune systems are not fully functional are at high risk of CMV reactivation, potentially leading to severe illness or death. Those at greatest risk include transplant patients and infants born to mothers who first become infected during pregnancy. Vical is pursuing two distinct vaccine approaches for these separate market segments: ASP0113 for the transplant market and CyMVectin(TM) for the congenital disease market.
Astellas Pharma Inc., located in Tokyo, Japan, is a pharmaceutical company dedicated to improving the health of people around the world through the provision of innovative and reliable pharmaceutical products. Astellas has approximately 17,000 employees worldwide. The organization is committed to becoming a global category leader in Urology, Immunology (including Transplantation) and Infectious diseases, Oncology, Neuroscience and DM Complications and Kidney diseases. For more information on Astellas Pharma Inc., please visit www.astellas.com/en.
Vical researches and develops biopharmaceutical products based on its patented DNA delivery technologies for the prevention and treatment of serious or life-threatening diseases. Potential applications of the company’s DNA delivery technology include DNA vaccines for infectious diseases or cancer, in which the expressed protein is an immunogen; cancer immunotherapeutics, in which the expressed protein is an immune system stimulant; and cardiovascular therapies, in which the expressed protein is an angiogenic growth factor. The company is developing certain infectious disease vaccines and cancer therapeutics internally. In addition, the company collaborates with major pharmaceutical companies and biotechnology companies that give it access to complementary technologies or greater resources. These strategic partnerships provide the company with mutually beneficial opportunities to expand its product pipeline and address significant unmet medical needs. Additional information on Vical is available at www.vical.com.