Bavarian Nordic Enters Into New Research Project to Develop New Cancer Vaccines Supported by the Danish National Advanced Technology Foundation
Kvistgård, Denmark, March 3, 2011 - Bavarian Nordic A/S (OMX: BAVA) announced today that the Company will participate in a new Danish research project, established with the purpose of identifying pathogens (viruses and bacteria) that may cause cancer. The identification of such viruses is an important step towards the development of cancer vaccines. Bavarian Nordic has been elected as partner in this project and will obtain the exclusive rights to commercialize any cancer vaccines that may emerge from the project. Until any viruses, leading to the development of new vaccines is identified; the project carries minimal costs for Bavarian Nordic.
The research project is part of a larger project, which today received a large grant of almost DKK 90 million from the Danish National Advanced Technology Foundation. With Bavarian Nordic as collaborative partner, the project is being headed by some of the most reputable scientists from Danish universities, including Eske Willerslev, Professor, Doctor of Science and Head of Centre for GeoGenetics at University of Copenhagen and Lars P. Nielsen, M.D., adjunct professor and infectious diseases specialist at Statens Serum Institut.
Background of the project
Cancer is the cause of 7.4 million deaths worldwide every year, thus representing 13 % of all deaths. In general, the causes of cancer remain unknown, but certain cases can be attributed to viruses, as is the case with cervical cancer, for which an effective vaccine that protects most of the vaccinees has already been developed.
Through the project, the researchers hope to identify yet unknown pathogens, causing other types of cancer, where an estimated 15% of all cases are attributed to pathogens. This could pave the way for the development of new cancer vaccines. So far it has been difficult to detect new pathogens, but using new and advanced sequencing technology to characterise and classify the DNA, the researchers will look for yet unknown fragments of DNA, which could lead to the identification of new pathogens related to cancer. The researchers are already well-experienced with this technology and have identified unknown viruses in DNA from patients in other diseases.
The project will concentrate its efforts on the major cancers such as breast, prostate and colon cancer and leukaemia, in order to investigate how DNA from these patients differ from the DNA of healthy people.
Anders Hedegaard, President & CEO of Bavarian Nordic said: "This project is tailored to our business, which is highly specialized in research, development and manufacturing of advanced vaccines. It is obvious that vaccines are the future in cancer treatment and we have already come far in the development of a vaccine for the treatment of advanced prostate cancer; PROSTVAC®. We see great potential in participating in this project on the development of new vaccines that in whole or in part could reduce the incidence of cancer."