iBio, Inc. announced it received notice from the European Patent Office that the opposition period expired for a bio-defense product patent granted to iBio, and no opposition was filed.

Yersinia pestis bacteria, which was grown on a medium of sheep’s blood agar (SBA) Image/CDC

The patent, entitled “Yersinia Pestis Antigens, Vaccine Compositions and Related Methods” (European patent EP 2178558), includes claims covering plague antigens fused to a thermostable protein such as the Company’s iBioModulator ™ thermostable immunomodulator, as well as vaccine compositions and a method for producing the antigen.

“This is an important extension of our commercial platform,” said Robert Erwin, iBio’s president. “We expect our success with vaccine and therapeutic product candidates for use against serious infectious disease agents with weapon potential, such as plague bacillus, to be of interest to governments and companies engaged in supplying disease countermeasures.”

iBio technology has been successfully applied to the creation of vaccine candidates for plague and for a plague-anthrax combination vaccine with development and testing funded by the U.S. government. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention classify plague as a Category A disease, which means “it poses a risk to national security because it can be easily disseminated or transmitted from person to person, results in high mortality rates and has the potential for a major public health impact, might cause public panic and social disruption, and requires special action for public health preparedness.”

There is no plague vaccine currently approved for use in the U.S. Although killed whole-cell plague vaccines have been reported to protect against bubonic plague in animal models, such vaccines were not effective against pneumonic plague. By contrast, data previously published in the peer-reviewed scientific journal, Vaccine, demonstrated that a recombinant plague vaccine incorporating the iBioModulator protein, and produced via the iBioLaunch™ gene expression platform in green plants, provided full protection of non-human primates against aerosolized Y. pestis (pneumonic plague).

Additional infectious disease and bio-defense applications of iBio technology include an anthrax vaccine currently in a Phase 1 human clinical trial and therapeutic antibodies targeting pathogens such as influenza virus, respiratory syncytial virus, and Ebola virus.