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MenOMVax – Secondary exploitation EU Malaria Fund

MenOMVax – Secondary exploitation EU Malaria Fund

Neisseria meningitidis is a Gram-negative encapsulated bacterium that causes bacterial meningococcal meningitidis epidemics worldwide. Meningococcal disease has high epidemic potential with clusters and outbreaks occurring worldwide. Explosive epidemics can occur in the “meningitis belt”, an area of sub-Saharan Africa with a population of >400 million extending from Senegal to Ethiopia, with incidence rates over 1000 cases/100 000 population. The disease can be rapidly fatal and can leave severe disability, making treatment difficult. Survivors often suffer neurological impairments such as motor weakness, paralysis, incoordination and cognitive deficits. Loss of limbs due to haemorrhagic necrosis is also common.

Due to the fast escalation of symptoms, prompt treatment is often difficult and vaccination remains a priority in order to tackle mortality, morbidity and sequelae. Current vaccines are expensive to produce, in some cases reactogenic, and/or offer limited range of coverage against meningococcus strains.

AchilleS Vaccines will design and produce a pan-meningococcal vaccine that will harness the remarkable features of modified mOMV and will be devised to contain strain-specific and cross-reactive antigens against a multitude of strains of Neisseria meningitidis of clinical relevance. Therefore, the vaccine will uniquely provide multivalent broad coverage against all the major serogroups responsible for meningococcal meningitis worldwide. The flexibility of the mOMV plarform will also allow “plug and play” modifications and/or inclusion of new antigens to increase valency and coverage in response to epidemiological changes.

The project will deliver a new safe, effective, versatile, multivalent universal pan-meningococcal vaccine based on the mOMV platform. The vaccine will have low production costs and will be easy to scale-up for production and rapid commercialisation. The project will be performed as a collaboration between AchilleS Vaccines (Siena, Italy) and University of Cambridge (Cambridge, UK).