Genocea Biosciences and the Naval Medical Research Center have entered into a cooperative research and development agreement for the identification of antigens to be used in the development of vaccines against malaria.
Under the CRADA, Genocea will apply its proprietary technology to identify novel T-cell antigens from a proteomic screen of Plasmodium falciparum, the parasite that causes malaria in humans. Based on that information, NMRC will develop a candidate vaccine.
The work is being funded with a $2.7 million grant from US Army Medical Research and Material Command to Genocea, based in Cambridge, Mass.
No other terms were disclosed.
In a statement, Staph Leavenworth Bakali, president and CEO of Genocea, said the agreement validates his company's T-cell directed antigen discovery platform technology "and further strengthens our position as a leader in novel vaccine development against pathogens with a high unmet medical need."
According to Genocea's website, the company can "rapidly identify the antigens that result in the in vivo stimulation of protective CD8+ and CD4+ T-cells, targets that can be immediately incorporated into existing antigen delivery systems to produce multivalent vaccine formulations that have the highest probability of generating protective cell-mediated immunity."
Its technology, it added, "essentially" mimics the mammalian immune system in vitro and presents it "with every possible antigen from a disease-causing agent. Genocea can rapidly identify which antigens — out of the entire proteome of a disease target — will best stimulate the immune system in vivo, a task that was not only slow, but previously impossible."
Genocea is also developing a vaccine against Chlamydia trachomatis and against Streptococcus pneumoniae as well as three undisclosed targets.