GeoVax Labs, Inc. (NasdaqCM: GOVX, GOVXW) (“GeoVax” or the “Company”), a biotechnology company developing human immunotherapies and vaccines against infectious diseases and cancer, today announced the signing of a Patent and Biological Materials License Agreement (the “License Agreement”) with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), in support of GeoVax’s development of a vaccine against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. The Patent License Agreement to GeoVax includes access to NIAID’s patent rights in the stabilized SPIKE protein, which is the protein that SARS-CoV-2 uses to gain entry into human tissue.
The License Agreement allows GeoVax to use these materials and patent rights owned by agencies of the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in combination with the Company’s proprietary technology for the creation of a preventive Modified Vaccinia Ankara Virus-Virus Like Particle (MVA-VLP) vaccine that primes and/or boosts the immune system against COVID-19. The agreement provides GeoVax with nonexclusive rights to develop, manufacture and commercialize its COVID-19 vaccine. Financial terms of the License Agreement were not disclosed.
David Dodd, GeoVax President and CEO, commented, “The signing of this license agreement with NIAID is an important event for our ongoing COVID-19 vaccine development program and is reflective of our optimism and commitment to rapidly advancing the program. This agreement includes the commercialization rights to the NIH MVA backbone for our SARS-CoV-2 vaccine, arising from the laboratory of Dr. Bernard Moss of the NIAID Laboratory of Viral Diseases (LVD). GeoVax applauds the career and long-term research contributions to antiviral vaccine backbones made by Dr. Bernard Moss and others in his laboratory.”
To date, GeoVax has designed and constructed four COVID-19 vaccine candidates, with the goal that one will provide a single-dose, universal vaccine effective against multiple coronavirus strains. Preclinical small animal studies for the first candidate are currently being conducted in collaboration with researchers at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston (UTMB), and the Company intends to accelerate small animal testing with initial results expected soon. In addition, GeoVax continues active discussions and negotiations related to additional funding support, as well as securing the necessary manufacturing resources to proceed into clinical development as soon as possible.
Mr. Dodd added, “We anticipate that multiple COVID-19 vaccines will be necessary for the goal of broad public health protection, especially in addressing the preventive needs among populations with compromised immune systems, including people with co-morbidities and older adults. The GV-MVA-VLPTM platform, with the established and recognized history of the safety of MVA and other potential efficacy, durability and manufacturing attributes, if successfully developed, will become a critical vaccine to address COVID-19 and potentially related infectious threats.”