The bacterial pathogen Neisseria meningitidis is a major cause of meningitis. ImmBioVax™ technology offers a powerful new approach to establish a vaccine with broad, cross-strain protection. ImmBio, supported by Biomedical Catalyst funding, is developing MenBioVax™, a single vaccine designed for all Neisseria meningitidis serogroups and uniquely protective against B serotypes. MenBioVax™ provides two key potential benefits:
- Broad protection, ultimately offering a single vaccine against all serogroups
- Cost-effective production
Meningococcal bacteria infect the blood stream causing septicaemia and also the meninges around the brain and spinal cord resulting in meningitis. Around 10% of the population carry the bacteria and for unknown reasons a small percentage develop meningitis with incidence relatively high in infants. Typically, up to 10% of infections result in death and 15-30% of infections lead to long term disability, including amputations and mental retardation. Antibiotics may clear infection and avoid disability if used early. However, only non-specific symptoms are initially evident and infection progresses rapidly. Typically death is within 24 -36 hours of first symptoms. In infants, it can be particularly difficult to identify symptoms of meningitis early.
Most meningococcal disease is caused by five serogroups: A, B, C, W and Y. The successful development of vaccines against A, C, W and Y has dramatically reduced the incidence of meningitis, now leaving only serogroup B without a broadly-protective vaccine. Serogroup B polysaccharides are similar to those found in humans and so unlike for other serogroups, a vaccine cannot be developed which targets these molecules. MenBioVax™ is designed as a single vaccine with breadth of protection irrespective of serogroup.