Profectus BioSciences and Galveston National Laboratory (GNL) at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston (UTMB), US, have received a five-year, $5.4m grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).

The grant is intended to support the development of a trivalent recombinant vesicular stomatitis virus (rVSV) vaccine to protect against Ebola and Marburg viruses.

Preclinical studies conducted in collaboration with GNL and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) investigators have shown that a single injection of the rVSV-Ebola vaccine is able to protect guinea pigs and non-human primates against the pathogenic Zaire species of Ebola virus.

Profectus will be responsible for the design and development of the lyophilised trivalent vaccine and GNL will conduct the studies at biosafety level 4 (BSL4) to demonstrate protection against multiple strains of Ebola and Marburg viruses.

A previous placebo-controlled dose-escalation Phase 1 study evaluated the safety and immunogenicity of a Profectus rVSV-vectored HIV vaccine in non-human primates.

John Eldridge, Profectus BioSciences chief scientific officer, said that in addition to providing single-dose protection, the platform provides the high manufacturing yields that allow rapid and economic production.

UTMB professor and GNL investigator Tom Geisbert said the unique resources of the GNL’s BSL4 lab provide the confines to test the Profectus candidate vaccine safely and effectively.

Profectus BioSciences is a technology-based vaccine company focused on the treatment and prevention of infectious disease and related cancer, with the goal of reducing morbidity and mortality.

GNL uses the resouces of its BSL2, BSL3 and BSL4 laboratories to study diseases and to yield better tests, treatments and vaccines.