AIDS Vaccine 2001 Conference
September 6, 2001
Glaxo HIV Vaccine -2: Protected From AIDS For 18 Months
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico -(Dow Jones)- GlaxoSmithKline PLC (GSK) reported that its vaccine candidate for the HIV virus was able to protect rhesus monkeys from a similar virus for more than 18 months.
In a press release Thursday, the pharmaceutical company said it expects the drug combination to enter Phase I trials by year end.
The preclinical study tested the effect of Glaxo's recombinant adjuvanted candidate on six groups of four monkeys.
One group was vaccinated with Glaxo's combination candidate HIV vaccine consisting of "gp120 antigen, a NefTat fusion protein antigen and a novel adjuvant proprietary to GSK Biologicals, AS02A."
Other monkey groups received a single component of the vaccine and the control group received the adjuvant without the antigen.
After all groups were exposed to a simian-human immuno-deficiency virus, similar to HIV, only the group vaccinated with the antigen combination maintained their CD4-positive cell counts and exhibited a "strongly" reduced virus load for over 18 months.
In the control group, three of the four monkeys developed AIDS, and the other groups had a "similar outcome."
A second study with the candidate vaccine was repeated in a genetically unrelated monkey population and reported similar CD4-positive cell results.
GlaxoSmithKline said it plans to develop the vaccine candidate against at least two strains of HIV, including the "B" clade that is dominant in the Western Hemisphere and Europe and at least one of the clades that is circulating in Africa and Asia.
As reported by The Wall Street Journal Feb. 23, the company expects to start human Phase 1 clinical trials of the vaccine for use as a prophylactic, or preventive drug, in the fourth quarter. It expects to test the vaccine as a therapeutic drug - a treatment - early next year.
Rival pharmaceutical company Merck & Co. (MRK) has started small human trials of a new experimental HIV vaccine that sparked hope among AIDS scientists. At least half a dozen companies are testing or have tested vaccines in people, including VaxGen Inc. (VXGN), Aventis SA (AVE) and Chiron Corp. (CHIR).
The website for the Vaccine