Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Exciting News for Inviragen

In the past week, Inviragen has announced two signifiant funding events. First, funding of new research on avian flu from the National Institutes of Health. Then yesterday, they announced funding from the Pediatric Dengue Vaccine Initiative (PDVI). The PDVI grant will provide funds for manufacture of Inviragen’s dengue vaccine in preparation for testing in human clinical trials.

From press release: "Dengue fever is a mosquito-borne illness, prevalent in tropical and subtropical countries throughout the world. Approximately 3.5 billion people live in endemic countries and about 100 million people are infected with dengue every year according to recent estimates published by the PDVI. Infection by any one of four dengue viruses can lead to a debilitating fever or, in a subset of cases, can lead to life-threatening hemorrhagic fever.

'This financial support from PDVI will accelerate the development of our dengue vaccine,' said Dr. Dan Stinchcomb, CEO of Inviragen. 'We decided early on to partner with one of the leading vaccine manufacturers in India, Shantha Biotechnics, Ltd., for the manufacture of our vaccine for human clinical trials. The grant from PDVI validates our strategy and will partially support our vaccine manufacturing efforts at Shantha.'

Inviragen’s dengue vaccine was designed by collaborators at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Ft. Collins, CO to protect against all four of the dengue viruses. The vaccine has been shown to be safe and effective in preclinical animal models. Inviragen intends to begin human clinical testing of its vaccine in the second half of 2008."

For more info, http://www.inviragen.com/. PDVI is funded by Gates Foundation and Rockefellar Foundation and their funding provides both needed capital and credibility. http://www.pdvi.org/ It is exciting to see Inviragen hitting its stride on building a biotech company focused on developing world diseases. I have worked with co-founders, Dan and Jorge, for many years and they are very talented and extremely dedicated to this venture. Dan has visited our entrepreneurship classes and we used the dengue vaccine as a "hypothetical venture" several years ago. Very cool to see it now moving toward clinical trials as a very real venture. Dan and Jorge, welcome to the Honorary BOPreneur Society.

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