The University of Massachusetts Medical School and the British immunotherapeutics company PowderMed have formed a partnership to develop a potential bird flu vaccine.
Under the agreement, PowderMed’s DNA vaccine for avian flu (H5) will be tested and analysed in the lab of Shan Lu, MD, PhD, professor of medicine and leader of the UMMS DNA vaccine efforts.
Dr. Lu was part of the UMMS team which pioneered fundamental elements of DNA-based flu vaccines in the 1990s.
Results to date suggest that PowderMed’s proprietary prophylactic DNA-based vaccine will provide defence against influenza. PowderMed will initiate phase II studies using both bird flu strains and annual flu strains in 2006. Dr. Lu’s lab will analyze the avian flu vaccine’s ability to generate a protective immune response in animals.
There will be no live avian flu virus involved in the workâ€”only the DNA-vaccine candidate.