A prophylactic vaccine candidate against Chikungunya fever, developed by the Austrian biotech company Themis Bioscience GmbH, was shown in interim Phase 1 study results to induce a significant neutralizing immune response.
The Chikungunya epidemic, currently raging through the Caribbean, illustrates the urgent necessity to develop an effective vaccine against the rapid spread of the disease in tropical regions, now also threatening the North American continent.
The study was carried out on 42 subjects in the Department of Clinical Pharmacology at the Vienna General Hospital (Allgemeines Krankenhaus der Stadt Wien, ‘AKH’) and confirms the expectations pinned on the vaccine: it not only proved to be well tolerated and safe, but also exhibited the required immune response in the form of neutralizing antibodies.
Even the lowest doses used showed to be effective, and increasing doses led to respective stronger immune responses in the study subjects.
“The confirmed tolerance, safety and immune response show the suitability of our Themaxyn platform. This uses a standard anti-measles vaccine as a vector and constitutes the basis of our pipeline, comprising a Dengue fever vaccine candidate and vaccine constructs for other rapidly spreading infectious diseases,” said Dr. Erich Tauber, Themis founder and CEO. “The anti-measles vaccine has already proven itself a million times over, and hence the Themaxyn platform offers an excellent safety profile and clear advantages in terms of a validated, low-cost production process.”
Themis sees itself as a boutique biotech firm enabling such end objective, as Dr. Tauber explains: “Our expertise is in R&D. Therefore, we adapt the vector of the Themaxyn platform to new indications. In this context, we have already secured the rights for Dengue fever and we are contemplating a range of further indications. We aim to provide third parties with the rights to license, manufacture and market our development programs once the clinical proof of concept has been established, to then reinvest the proceeds in our research programs.”
The company’s Themaxyn technology platform, licensed from the Pasteur Institute in Paris, forms the basis for all current vaccine candidates of the Vienna-based company.