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GeoVax: HIV Vaccines For The Developing And Developed World

By Edison Stock MarketsAug 08, 2014 03:06AM ET
GeoVax: HIV Vaccines For The Developing And Developed World
By Edison   |  Aug 08, 2014 03:06AM ET
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Valneva vaccine deal

An agreement has been signed granting rights to Valneva’s EB66 cell line for clinical and commercial production of the MVA component of Geovax Labs Inc's (OTC:GOVX) preclinical clade C HIV vaccines for the developing world. This will allow for manufacturing of the vaccine for first clinical trials by a CMO (contract manufacturing organisation). The priority remains the lead prophylactic vaccine GOVX-B11 for the developed world, where a Phase IIb trial is being planned with the HIV Vaccine Trials Network (HVTN).

Preparing for clinical trials with Valneva

In common with GeoVax’s clade B vaccines for the developed world, the clade C vaccines for the developing world consist of a DNA primer vaccine and an MVA booster vaccine. The agreement allows for manufacturing of clinical trial material of the MVA component of the vaccine using Valneva’s proprietary EB66 cell line.

Establishing manufacturing is a critical step

Selection of a cell line early in the development process is a critical step as it can help minimise future manufacturing costs and allow for scale up of the manufacturing process in a timely manner. Valneva’s EB66 is licensed to partners including GSK and Sanofi and provides a more economical alternative to the typical chicken egg production used for vaccines.

HIV vaccines for the developing and developed world

GeoVax’s preclinical GOVX-C11 and C21 target the subpopulation of HIV that predominantly affects Sub-Saharan Africa, India and Nepal (clade C). This subtype is responsible for around 50% of all HIV infections. For the developed world (Clade B), GeoVax continues to work with the HVTN to plan the next efficacy trial of GOVX-B11 (prophylactic vaccine) having completed Phase IIa development; GeoVax has requested c $3m funding from NIH to produce the DNA component of the vaccine to prepare for this trial. GeoVax is also developing an HIV immunotherapy programme and a Phase I/II trial is being planned.

Valuation: Undemanding EV of around $4m

GeoVax was recently awarded second-year grant funding of $290,000 for a two-year project from the US NIH. The current EV of c $4m based on end-June net cash of $1.4m seems undemanding. However, HIV vaccine development is a challenging and costly arena with many high-profile failures. Updates on the HVTN process and securing US NIH support for development of GOVX-B11 and clarity on funding for GeoVax’s immunotherapy programme could both lead to a valuation uplift.

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GeoVax: HIV Vaccines For The Developing And Developed World

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GeoVax: HIV Vaccines For The Developing And Developed World

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