Genocea Announces $1.2 Million Grant for Malaria Vaccine Discovery
Genocea Biosciences, Inc. (NASDAQ:GNCA) , a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company developing T cell-directed vaccines and immunotherapies, today announced the receipt of a $1.2 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for the identification of protective T cell antigens for malaria vaccines.
The grant, which extends Genocea’s existing malaria collaboration with the Gates Foundation through 2015, supports comprehensive screening of the malaria proteome to identify targets of protective T cell responses. The Gates Foundation also invested in Genocea in its Series C funding round in 2012.
“We’ve made good progress with our Malaria program and are delighted to extend our collaboration with the Gates Foundation,” said Jessica Baker Flechtner, Ph.D., Genocea’s senior vice president of research. “It is a testament to the power of ATLAS, our proprietary T cell target discovery platform, that we can seek to tackle this complex and devastating global disease.”
About Genocea’s Malaria Program
Malaria is one of the deadliest infectious diseases in the world. In 2012, more than 600 million cases of malaria were reported by the World Health Organization (WHO), claiming over 600,000 lives, many of them children and largely in developing countries. There is no licensed vaccine to prevent malaria, an infection caused by Plasmodium parasites transmitted by mosquitoes. When the parasite is injected through the bite of an infected mosquito, it rapidly travels to the liver where it replicates in large numbers and is released into the bloodstream causing sickness. T cells in the liver could potentially kill the cells in which the parasite is hiding before the parasite is able break out into the bloodstream. Genocea’s T cell target discovery platform, ATLAS, is currently being applied to identify which components of the plasmodium could act as T cell targets and become part of novel vaccine candidates.
Genocea is harnessing the power of T cell immunity to develop life-changing vaccines and immunotherapies. T cells are increasingly recognized as a critical element of protective immune responses to a wide range of diseases, but traditional discovery methods have proven unable to identify the targets of such protective immune response. Using ATLASTM, its proprietary technology platform, Genocea identifies these targets to potentially enable the rapid development of medicines to address critical patient needs. Genocea’s pipeline of novel clinical stage T cell-enabled product candidates includes GEN-003 for HSV-2 therapy, GEN-004 to prevent infections caused by pneumococcus, and earlier-stage programs in chlamydia, HSV-2 prophylaxis, malaria and cancer immunotherapy. For more information, visit www.genocea.com.
Forward Looking Statements
Statements herein relating to future business performance, conditions or strategies and other financial and business matters, including expectations regarding clinical developments, are forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act. Genocea cautions that these forward-looking statements are subject to numerous assumptions, risks and uncertainties, which change over time. Factors that may cause actual results to differ materially from the results discussed in the forward-looking statements or historical experience include risks and uncertainties, including Genocea’s ability to progress any product candidates in preclinical or clinical trials; the scope, rate and progress of its preclinical studies and clinical trials and other research and development activities; clinical trial results; current results may not be predictive of future results; even if the data from preclinical studies or clinical trials is positive, the product may not prove to be safe and efficacious; Genocea’s ability to enter into future collaborations with industry partners and the government and the terms, timing and success of any such collaboration; the cost of filing, prosecuting, defending and enforcing any patent claims and other intellectual property rights; our ability to obtain rights to technology; competition for clinical resources and patient enrollment from drug candidates in development by other companies with greater resources and visibility; our ability to obtain adequate financing in the future through product licensing, co-promotional arrangements, public or private equity or debt financing or otherwise; general business conditions; competition; business abilities and judgment of personnel; the availability of qualified personnel and other factors set forth under “Risk Factors” in Genocea’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2013 and other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”). Further information on the factors and risks that could affect Genocea’s business, financial conditions and results of operations is contained in Genocea’s filings with the SEC, which are available at www.sec.gov. These forward-looking statements speak only as of the date of this press release and Genocea assumes no duty to update forward-looking statements.
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