Company stops Zika vaccine trials after BARDA ends funding
Sanofi Pasteur has stopped developing its experimental Zika vaccine after HHS ended funding for it, the company announced.
According to a company release, HHS’s Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) told the drug manufacturer in August that it had decided to scale back on Zika-related projects and would limit Sanofi’s funding to cover a case definition and surveillance study. It added that development could continue if another Zika virus epidemic occurs.
Sanofi announced it would not seek licensure of the vaccine from the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, with whom the company had been working to produce it.
“We are proud of our contributions to the productive collaboration to date, which will result in significant contributions to science and to others who may continue pursuing licensure for an effective and safe Zika vaccine,” the Sanofi release read.
Sanofi’s candidate, the Zika Purified Inactivated Virus (ZPIV), was one of two for which the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases launched clinical trials in 2016.
The other candidate tested by the NIAID at the time was the DNA-based VRC 319 vaccine. In November 2016, NIAID director Anthony S. Fauci, MD, told Infectious Disease News he was confident that a Zika vaccine would be available some time in 2018.
It was unclear exactly how far trials of either vaccine candidate had progressed. The NIAID did not immediately respond to a request for comment. – by Joe Green