Wolfgang Bender, MD, PhD, chief medical officer of Valneva, commented, “Chikungunya is a growing threat with unpredictable outbreaks and a serious impact on public health. Infection with the virus can cause serious symptoms and complications. The fast track designation will allow us to work closely with the FDA and to accelerate our efforts to develop a one dose solution for the prevention of this spreading disease.”
Fast Track designation is granted by the FDA to products under development for serious conditions that have the potential to fulfill an unmet medical need. Fast Track is designed to facilitate the clinical development and expedite the review of new drugs and vaccines with the intention of accelerating the availability of promising products on the market.
Valneva will release VLA1553’s initial Phase 1 data in the coming weeks.
Chikungunya is a mosquito-borne viral disease caused by the chikungunya virus (CHIKV), a Togaviridae virus, transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes. Clinical symptoms include acute onset of fever, debilitating joint and muscle pain, headache, nausea and rash, potentially developing into long-term, serious health impairments. Chikungunya virus causes clinical illness in 72% to 92% of infected humans around four to seven days after an infected mosquito bite. Complications resulting from the disease include visual, neurological, heart and gastrointestinal manifestations;
fatalities have been reported (case fatality rates of 0.1% to 4.9% from epidemics) in elderly patients, who are at a higher risk. Chikungunya outbreaks have been reported in Asia, Africa, the Americas and recently (2017) in Europe. As of 2017, there have been more than one million reported cases in the Americas and the economic impact is considered to be significant (e.g. Colombia outbreak 2014: $73.6m). The medical and economic burden is expected to grow as the CHIKV primary mosquito vectors continue to spread further geographically. There are no
preventive vaccines or effective treatments available and, as such, chikungunya is considered to be a major public health threat.
VLA1553 is a monovalent, single dose, live-attenuated vaccine candidate for protection against chikungunya. It is designed for prophylactic, active, single-dose immunization against chikungunya in humans over one year old. The vaccine aims for long-lasting protection and an anticipated safety profile similar to licensed vaccines for active immunization in adults and children. The target population segments are travelers, military personnel and individuals at risk living in endemic regions. The global market for vaccines against chikungunya is estimated at up to €500 million annually.
VLA1553 is based on an infectious clone (CHIKV LR2006-OPY1) attenuated by deleting a major part of the gene encoding the non-structural replicase complex protein nsP3, aiming for protection against various chikungunya virus outbreak phylogroups and strains6. In pre-clinical development, a single-vaccine shot was shown to be highly immunogenic in vaccinated Non-Human Primates (NHP) (cynomolgus macaques) and showed no signs of viremia after challenge. In NHPs, VLA1553 induced a strong, long lasting (more than 300 days) neutralizing antibody response comparable to wild-type CHIKV infections combined with a good safety profile.
About Valneva SE
Valneva is a biotech company developing and commercializing vaccines for infectious diseases with major unmet needs. Valneva’s portfolio includes two commercial vaccines for travelers: IXIARO®/JESPECT® indicated for the prevention of Japanese encephalitis and DUKORAL® indicated for the prevention of cholera and, in some countries, prevention of diarrhea caused by ETEC. The Company has a robust pipeline of vaccines in development including a unique vaccine against Lyme disease. Valneva has operations in Austria, Sweden, the United Kingdom, France, Canada and the US with over 450 employees. More information is available at www.valneva.com.