London UK, Philadelphia USA, Rixensart, Belgium and Paris, France: December 17th, 2003
BIOLOGICALS AND THE INSTITUT PASTEUR ENTER COLLABORATION TO FIND A SARS VACCINE
GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals (GSK Bio) and the Institut Pasteur announced today that they have signed a Collaborative Research Agreement for the development of a candidate vaccine to prevent Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). This collaboration is based on the complementary competencies of several groups from Institut Pasteur, particularly in virology, with the ability of GSK Bio to develop novel vaccines.
The SARS virus first appeared in Asia at the end of 2002 and spread across two dozen countries in Europe, Asia and the Americas in only a few weeks. While the SARS outbreak is now under control, concern remains on a possible re-emergence of the disease. Thus, the development of an effective vaccine against SARS is a necessary step to efficiently control the spread of the virus.
The aim of the GSK Bio and the Institut Pasteur collaboration is to develop a sub-unit vaccine, that is, a vaccine derived from viral proteins. Such a vaccine avoids the manipulation of large quantities of the virus and protects individuals from risk of infection, as the viral proteins themselves are not infectious.
The first objective of this research agreement is to develop immunological tools such as monoclonal and polyclonal antibodies specific to the SARS virus useful to test the potential of an effective SARS vaccine and to characterize among the viral proteins the antigens that induce the highest immune response.
The second objective will be to introduce genes that encode for different viral proteins in expression vectors developed at Institut Pasteur to produce the relevant antigens. The immunogenicity of these antigens, which reflects the vaccine potency, will be assessed in preclinical models using novel, proprietary GSK Bio adjuvants in an effort to further enhance immune responses.
Initially a small team of scientists at GSK Bio and the Institut Pasteur will be involved in the project until more data becomes available on the epidemiology of the SARS virus, the understanding of which is evolving daily. In addition, it is expected that over time a clearer picture of government's commitment to the development and purchase of a possible SARS vaccine will become available allowing GSK Biologicals and other vaccine manufacturers to plan possible vaccine development and production in a clearer and more structured way.
Jean Stéphenne, President and General Manager of GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals said "With our world-class know-how in vaccine development and production we are proud and pleased to be able to contribute to the development of a potential vaccine against this virus. We are conscious however, that this may take quite some time and effort and will require much consultation and teamwork between scientists, vaccine companies and health authorities worldwide."
Philippe Kourilsky, President of the Institut Pasteur said "The SARS outbreak has reminded us that emerging infectious diseases remain one of the major hazards in public health. It also provides evidence of the urgent necessity for a close worldwide cooperation between public and private research."
The Institut Pasteur
in Paris (France) is a non-profit private foundation dedicated to the prevention
and treatment of infectious diseases through scientific and medical research,
education and public health activities. Twelve Departments group together130
research units and laboratories, with a total of 2500 people.
The international network of Instituts Pasteur has 23 members spread over the five continents with 8000 people.
Visit the Institut Pasteur's website : www.pasteur.fr
GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals (GSK Biologicals), the world's leading vaccine manufacturer, is located in Rixensart, Belgium. Belgium is the centre of all GlaxoSmithKline's activities in the field of vaccine research, development and production. GSK Biologicals employs more than 1000 research scientists who are devoted to discovering new vaccines and developing more cost-effective and convenient combination products to prevent infections that cause serious medical problems worldwide. In 2002, an average of 25 GSK Biologicals vaccine doses per second were delivered to 156 countries in both the developed and developing world. 100 million of the 800 million plus vaccine doses delivered last year were combined pediatric vaccines that protect the world's children against a minimum of 3 and up to 6 diseases in one go. For information, visit GSK Biologicals' vaccines website site at www.worldwidevaccines.com.
GlaxoSmithKline - one of the world's leading research-based pharmaceutical and healthcare companies - is committed to improving the quality of human life by enabling people to do more, feel better and live longer.
GSK Biologicals :
- Stephanie Tortell : + 32 2 656 9832
- Anne Walsh : + 32 2 656 9831
Institut Pasteur, Paris :
- Press office : 01 45
68 81 46 ; e-mail : firstname.lastname@example.org
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