Novavax, Inc., a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery, development and commercialization of recombinant nanoparticle vaccines and adjuvants, today announced pre-clinical data presented on Sunday, September 7, 2014, at 54th Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy (ICAAC) in Washington, DC.
These data demonstrate that immunization of pregnant baboons in the third trimester of pregnancy generates anti-F IgG antibodies that are transferred to the newborn infants. The study further demonstrated that infants born to immunized mothers were protected from RSV challenge at a level comparable to palivizumab (Synagis ®) therapy.
The ICAAC slide presentation 077: I-649, titled, "Immunization of Pregnant Baboons with the RSV F Nanoparticle Vaccine Protects Infant Baboons Challenged with Respiratory Syncytial Virus in a Comparable Manner to Infants Prophylaxed with Palivizumab" was presented by Dr. Robert Welliver of the University of Oklahoma, Health Sciences on Sunday, September 7.
Infant olive baboons develop RSV disease that mimics the clinical and pathological findings observed in human infants with RSV infection, making them an appropriate model for evaluation of maternal immunization with an RSV vaccine. Novavax, which is developing its RSV F-protein nanoparticle vaccine (RSV F nanoparticle vaccine) for maternal, pediatric and elderly immunizations to prevent RSV disease, collaborated with the University of Oklahoma on this study to evaluate the efficiency of maternal RSV F antibody transfer and the efficacy of its RSV vaccine in infants of vaccinated mother baboons compared to palivizumab recipients and untreated controls.
In this study, seronegative pregnant baboons (5 pairs) received either three intramuscular injections (IM) in the third trimester with a 60 μg/dose of the RSV vaccine and 1.2 mg of aluminum phosphate as an adjuvant at three week intervals, or saline. The paired infant baboons were challenged on day 30 intratracheally with 2-5x108pfu1 of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). Similarly, 4 pairs of infant baboons were administered either 15mg/kg palivizumab or saline IM before the RSV challenge. Blood was collected on day 0 and bronchoalveolar lavage (BALs) was performed to assess lung viral load and leukocyte levels on day 0, 5, 7 and 10. Blinded observations of respiratory rates were made in pairs. Pulmonary function tests were performed in the infants of vaccinated and control mothers.
In recipients of the RSV F nanoparticle vaccine, antibody responses were measured in the mother on the day of birth (day 0 (zero)) and in the infant on day 30. Geometric mean anti-F IgG antibody titers were 115,535 Elisa Units (EU) and 32,774 EU, palivizumab competing antibodies (PCA) were 342 and 98 μg/ml and RSV A neutralizing antibodies (A MN) were 380 and 121, in the mothers and infants, respectively. Sera from infants administered palivizumab on day 29 had day 30 geometric mean anti-F IgG were 88,475 EU, PCA 196μg/ml and A MN 269. Palivizumab treated and infants of vaccinated mothers had significantly lower fold rise in respiratory rates compared to their matched, untreated pairs, (p=0.0008, and p=0.0028). Decreases in lung viral loads and BAL leukocytes were observed in treated infants. Reduced work of breathing and higher peak expiratory flow was observed in infants of vaccinated mothers.
"This study provides direct empirical evidence, in a relevant higher-primate model, to support the maternal immunization strategy for our RSV F nanoparticle vaccine," said Greg Glenn, M.D., Senior Vice President, Research and Development at Novavax. "While we were confident that we would see maternal transfer of anti-F antibodies, we now have evidence to show that our vaccine candidate can not only protect against RSV disease, but provide protection similar to palivizumab, and may provide superior anti-inflammatory benefits relative to palivizumab. This study adds to substantial evidence and validation supporting our RSV maternal immunization strategy as we move towards the initiation of our first study in pregnant women in the next few months."