The Ebola virus
The Ebola virus

Image credit: Festa, via Shutterstock

New study of Ebola vaccine candidates

A new phase 1 study has begun at the University of Oxford that will investigate the use of a modified vaccinia Ankara Ebola Zaire (MVA EBOZ) as a prime-boost to GSK's Chimp Adenovirus type 3 (ChAd3) Ebola vaccine candidate. The study, being conducted by the clinical research group of Professor Adrian Hill of the Jenner Institute, has received regulatory approval to begin from the United Kingdom's Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

The phase 1 study has a planned enrolment of 38 volunteers of which 6 will receive MVA EBOZ only while the other 32 will receive ChAd3-EBO-Z prime followed by MVA EBOZ boost.

Emergent BioSolutions manufactured the supply of MVA EBOZ to be used in this phase 1 study, which is being conducted in the U.K. with support from the Wellcome Trust and the U.K. Department for International Development.

Professor Adrian Hill, Director of the Jenner Institute at Oxford University, said: "Production of the first ever batch of MVA for a clinical trial using a cell line is a milestone in the development of this important vaccine technology. This new process, which will allow very large scale production, will be of value not only for Ebola prevention, but also for a wide range of other disease indications including malaria and tuberculosis vaccination."

Dr Moncef Slaoui, Chairman of Vaccines, GSK, said: "We believe there is benefit in exploring different approaches such as a prime-boost strategy as we continue to develop our ChAd3 Ebola candidate vaccine. This ChAd3 Ebola candidate vaccine has shown encouraging immune responses and an acceptable safety and reactogenicity profile in ongoing phase 1 trials to date. Together, these different trials will provide important information about the vaccine and its potential to help combat this or future Ebola outbreaks."

Daniel J Abdun-Nabi, President and Chief Executive Officer of Emergent BioSolutions, said: "Emergent is pleased to be part of this collaboration by leveraging our unique capabilities to manufacture and supply MVA EBOZ for evaluation in this phase 1 clinical study. Our ability to quickly perform proof-of-concept work and manufacture MVA EBOZ at a 200L scale in an avian cell line is a result of our long-standing expertise in MVA-based vaccine development and manufacturing, fuelled by our desire to have a positive, meaningful impact in finding a solution to this life-threatening disease."