Researchers with Griffith University in Australia and the Chinese pharmaceutical firm, Olymvax announced that they will begin Phase 1 clinical trials on a new, needle-free vaccine targeted at Streptococcus A infection, the cause of strep throat and rheumatic heart disease.

Group-A Streptococcus (GAS)/CDC
Group-A Streptococcus (GAS)/CDC

Griffith University signed the collaborative and license agreement with Olymvax to discover, develop and commercialize its Group A Streptococcus (GAS) vaccine technology exclusively for Greater China.

The vaccine combines the protein, SpyCEP, with a previously developed vaccine J8-DT.  It is a new needle-free vaccine delivered through the nose.

Clinical trials on human patients in Australia and China are set to begin, potentially leading to worldwide distribution of a vaccine for Streptococcus A.

The researchers who developed the Liposome vaccine technology include Institute for Glycomics Principal Research Leader Professor Michael Good and Dr Mehfuz Zaman.

“The GAS vaccine has enormous potential to broadly impact human health,” said Professor Good.

“The availability of a safe and effective GAS vaccine could address a huge unmet public health demand, preventing a wide variety of potentially life-threatening complications and diseases in humans worldwide attributable to this organism.

“This collaborative partnership represents a significant milestone in the Institute’s commercialization success working together with partners to accelerate the commercial development of innovative vaccine candidates.

“This agreement is an important step forward in the international roll-out of our vaccine technology,” Professor Good said.

Strep A bacteria are responsible for a wide range of illnesses, from common infections like ‘school sores’ and strep throat, to deadly toxic shock and rheumatic heart disease. Even the rather gruesome sounding flesh-eating disease has this group of bacteria to blame. More than 500,000 people worldwide die each year from diseases caused by these bacteria and indigenous Australians are especially vulnerable.