B.C. Industry News

Biotechnology Focus – BC researcher closing in on Chlamydia vaccine

March 3, 2014

Biotechnology Focus

Genome BC’s Proof-of-Concept funding program is helping to develop a new vaccine for one of the most widespread sexually transmitted bacterial diseases.

Chlamydia is the most common bacterial sexually transmitted infection (STI) in Canada. In the province of British Columbia, it’s estimated to have caused over 11,000 infections last year alone.

While there are existing treatments for the disease, the problem is that these fail to stop the spread of infection. A vaccine is the only way to prevent the suffering and significant infertility caused by Chlamydia (C. trachomatis), the causative agent for the disease.

Through its Proof-of-Concept (POC) program,  Genome BC is funding the pre-clinical studies needed to move a new Chlamydia vaccine to human trials.

“Investment into public health is of significant importance to our province,” says Dr. Alan Winter, president and CEO of Genome BC. “Genome BC remains committed to funding research that will result in practical, societal benefits and these projects demonstrate that.”

Dr. Robert Brunham of the BC Centre for Disease Control is leading the project, called “Accelerating the Development of a Novel Outer Membrane Protein Based Vaccine Against Chlamydia Infection.”

The project is being carried out in partnership with the Canadian not-for-profit Pan-Provincial Vaccine Enterprise (PREVENT). It’s expected to run over the next 21 months, and will also include US Food and Drug Administration filings for anticipated clinical grade vaccine production.

According to Genome BC, the market profile for a Chlamydia vaccine is expected to be similar to the HPV vaccine currently on the market, which is now part of publicly funded healthcare and beginning to reduce HPV rates among Canadians.

Along with the Chlamydia project, Genome BC is funding five additional projects through the fifth and sixth round of funding for the POC program. These six projects represent an investment of $2.6 million, and the POC program represents a total investment of $9.5 million for new genomics and life sciences-related research projects.

Genome BC’s Proof-of-Concept program is currently accepting applications, for its seventh round of funding. To find out more, and to see what other projects got funding, visit: www.genomebc.ca/poc.