With the generous help of more than $3 million in financial support from Dr. Gary K. Michelson and his wife Alya Michelson of the Michelson Medical Research Foundation (MMRF), the Sabin Vaccine Institute Product Development Partnership (Sabin PDP) focuses on developing safe, effective and low-cost vaccines that can prevent human suffering caused by infectious and neglected tropical diseases (NTDs).  The Michelson Neglected Disease Vaccine Initiative supports a number of Sabin PDP activities and helps advance an innovative model that relies on private, academic, and public institutions in low- and middle-income countries, Australia, the United States and Europe to collaborate for preclinical development, vaccine manufacturing and clinical testing. These include:

Human Hookworm Vaccine Discovery Program: The Human Hookworm Vaccine, under development by the Sabin PDP, is currently comprised of the recombinant antigens Na-GST-1 and Na-APR-1 now in clinical testing in the U.S. and Brazil, with plans to extend clinical testing to the West African nation of Gabon. There is the potential that the vaccine could be enhanced by using additional or alternative recombinant antigens, and the Human Hookworm Vaccine Discovery program is advancing research and development to identify, express and evaluate new candidate vaccine antigens for human hookworm.

Pan-Anthelminthic Vaccine Discovery Program: The Sabin PDP is working to develop a pan-anthelminthic vaccine targeting three major intestinal helminth infections – ascariasis, trichuriasis and hookworm infection – which cause the highest disease burden of NTDs. This discovery program leverages the Sabin PDP’s programmatic and technical infrastructure to carry out discovery, preclinical evaluation, and early feasibility studies of ascaris and trichuris candidate antigens. Ultimately, antigens selected for development could be incorporated into the hookworm and schistosomiasis vaccines already under development by the Sabin PDP.

Schistosomiasis Vaccine Initiative: Thanks to the support of the MMRF and others, the Sabin PDP has completed discovery, product development, good manufacturing practice (GMP) manufacture and toxicology testing for a schistosomiasis vaccine. Schistosomiasis is a deadly disease affecting more than 200 million people worldwide that can result in chronic kidney disease, liver, and bladder cancers, and increased risk of HIV transmission in women. The Sabin PDP will initiate Phase I clinical testing of the Sm-TSP-2 antigen in 2014 as a vaccine candidate.

Photo by Olivier Asselin.