Based on its novel technology, VacciGuard is developing effective vaccines against many violent pathogens — for which there is currently no effective vaccine solution — and against devastating diseases such as cancer. Proof of concept was obtained in mouse models for five pathogens: Salmonella typhi, Streptococcus pneumoniae, Neisseria meningitis type B, West Nile Virus (WNV) and Murine Cytomegalovirus (MCMV).
The inventors discovered that poor immunogenic antigens (carbohydrates, peptides) conjugated to HSP-60-derived peptides become remarkably effective vaccines. HSP-60 gives a powerful signal to the immune system because it is a chaperone/stress protein, conserved throughout evolution, and up-regulated at sites of inflammation, infections, and other kind of stress. Therefore, HSP-60 peptide conjugates convert a weak antigen into a strong immunogen.
Currently VacciGuard is developing the following projects:
- VG-WNV (WNV) No current vaccine exists; no subunit vaccine under development; supporting results inanimal models (5 repetitions, 3 virus strains)
- VG-LC (Lung cancer) 1.3M deaths/year; 5Y survival rate 15%; supporting results in relevant animal model
- VG-FLU (Influenza universal vaccine) No suchapproved vaccine; animal experiments are ongoing
Project update: VacciGuard signed an agreement with a large U.S. vaccine company to support the proof of concept of one of the projects.
MARKET NEED & SIZE
Infectious diseases are responsible for a third of all deaths, killing at least 15 million people a year. On top of this high death toll, infectious diseases significantly disable millions more. Lung cancer is the third most common cancer and the most common cause of cancer-related deaths. According to WHO, about 1.3 million people die every year from lung cancer. The five-year survival rate is only 15%, in comparison to 88% for breast cancer and 99% for prostate cancer.
The global vaccine market is estimated at $11 billion. It is expected to grow to $17 billion in 2010, representing 10% growth per year. The current market for influenza vaccines is about $1.1 billion; the WNV market is estimated at about $400 million, and the lung cancer market is estimated at $3.7 billion.
Professor Irun Cohen, M.D., Inventor. Department of Immunology, Weizmann Institute of Science; research yielded basis for a therapeutic agent for Type 1 diabetes, currently in clinical development (Phase III)
Professor Bracha Rager, Ph.D., Inventor. Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev; former chief scientist, Ministry of Health and president of the Israel Society for Microbiology
Professor Angel Progader, Ph.D., Inventor. Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Ben-Gurion University
Prof. Myron Levine, M.D., D.T.P.H. Advisor. Director, Center of Vaccine Development, Maryland University; world expert in epidemiology, developed up to market the attenuated live oral Salmonella typhi vaccine and Haemophilus influenzae type B vaccine
Stephen Udem, M.D., Ph.D., Advisor. Internationally recognized virologist and vaccinologist; senior R&D positions in Wyeth’s vaccine division; managed the IAVI’s Vaccine Development programs
Prof. Shai Ashkenazi, M.D., M.Sc., Advisor. Professor of pediatrics, Sackler Faculty of Medicine; world expert in infectious diseases
Irit Pinchasi, Ph.D., Advisor. Served as VP Global Innovative R&D, Teva; managed development of Copaxone® from academia to market
| Key Personnel
Anat Eitan, Founder and CEO has more than twenty years of experience in various positions, including senior managerial functions in the drug development industry.She worked in the Innovative R&D division at Teva Pharmaceutical Industries for 12 years, starting as a project manager and later re-established and headed the new projects unit of the firm. She was the CEO of Metabogal (now Protalix) and a partner in the Pontifax Investment Fund. She brings experience in consulting to investment firms, technology transfer organizations and biotechnology companies. Anat Eitan holds a B.Sc. in Biology and M.Sc. in Biochemistry from the Ben-Gurion University in Beer-Sheva, and an MBA from the Recanati Business School at the Tel-Aviv University.
Prof. Irun Cohen, the inventor of VacciGuard's technology , has held the following positions:
Mauerberger Professor of Immunology at the Department of Immunology of the Weizmann Institute of Science
Director, European Collaboration on T Cell Vaccination sponsored by the European Medical Research Councils of the European Science Foundation
Director, Robert Koch-Minerva Center for Research in Autoimmune Diseases, at the Weizmann Institute of Science
Director, Center for the Study of Emerging Diseases, Jerusalem
Chairman, Committee for the Re-accreditation of Israeli Medical Schools, The Council for Higher Education, Israel
Executive Director, The National Center for T-cell Vaccination, Israel
Member of the Executive Committee of The National Center for Complexity Science, Israel
Prof. Cohen was awarded the Robert Koch Prize, Federal Republic of Germany, for his work on autoimmunity. He is a Highly Cited Researcher (ISI), with over 480 professional publications. Holds an MD from Northwestern University Medical School