Batavia Biosciences partners with the University of Tokyo to develop a vector-based vaccine against Nipah virus
Leiden, the Netherlands, May 14, 2019 – Batavia Biosciences announced today that it will work together in a consortium including the European Vaccine Initiative and Stanford University, icddr,b, and headed by the University of Tokyo, to develop an epidemic preparedness vaccine against the Nipah virus. For this purpose, the University of Tokyo received a $31 million grant from the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness (CEPI) – which finances and coordinates the development of vaccines against infectious disease – to use its Measles vector technology to develop and stockpile a Nipah vaccine.
There is currently no effective medical countermeasure against the Nipah virus and therefore it is listed as one of the main priorities of the WHO. The virus is prevalent in Southeast Asia and the Indian subcontinent and causes illness ranging from fever and headache, to acute respiratory illness, and even fatal encephalitis. The Nipah virus is also known to cause severe disease in domestic pigs, resulting in significant regional economic loss. “The need for effective medical intervention strategies against this virus is huge and therefore, we are very excited to be working with the consortium in developing a Nipah vaccine”, says Dr. Menzo Havenga, President & CEO of Batavia Biosciences.
As partner in the consortium, Batavia will receive $9.6 million to deliver a low-cost manufacturing process that can be easily applied for stockpiling of the Nipah vaccine.
Dr. Christopher Yallop, Chief Operations and Scientific Officer at Batavia Biosciences elaborates: “We will deploy our High Intensity Process technology in combination with the NevoLine™ production technology (Univercells; Belgium) to develop a manufacturing process, deliver GMP drug product for clinical trials, and transfer the process to a Developing Country Vaccine Manufacturer for stockpiling purposes. We are excited that after years of developing our highly intensified manufacturing platform, we are now taking the next step to strengthen global health initiatives.”
About Batavia Biosciences
Batavia Biosciences significantly contributes to the easing of human suffering from infectious diseases by improving the success rate in the translation of candidate medicines from discovery to the clinic. We offer our novel technologies and in-depth know-how in order to help our partners to complete preclinical phases in biopharmaceutical product development at higher speed, reduced costs and increased success. The company focuses on the early stages of product development including cell line generation, upstream process development, purification development, product characterization and clinical manufacturing. Headquartered in Leiden, the Netherlands, with a subsidiary in Woburn, Massachusetts, and offices in Hong Kong, Batavia Biosciences is privileged to have strong strategic partners worldwide.
About the Nipah virus
Nipah virus belongs to the Paramyxoviridae family of viruses, genus Henipavirus, alongside Hendra virus. Nipah is a zoonotic disease, meaning it passes from animals to humans. The natural hosts of the virus are fruit bats of the genus Pteropus. Nipah virus can be spread through contact with infected persons or animals.
Nipah virus infection can cause severe, rapidly progressive illness that affects the respiratory system and the central nervous system, including inflammation of the brain (encephalitis). Symptoms begin between five and 14 days after infection, and include fever, altered mental state, cough and respiratory problems.
People are advised to avoid contact with ill pigs and bats in countries where Nipah virus is known to occur. They are also advised to avoid drinking raw date palm sap, which can be infected with bodily fluids from bats. There are currently no vaccines or therapeutics against Nipah virus approved for use in humans.
About the University of Tokyo
The University of Tokyo was established in 1877 as the first national university in Japan. UTokyo is Japan’s leading university and one of the world’s top research universities. The vast research output of some 6,000 researchers is published in the world’s top journals across the arts and sciences. Our vibrant student body of around 15,000 undergraduate and 15,000 graduate students includes over 2,000 international students.