Leidos and Canada-based clinical vaccine developer Immunovaccine have forged an agreement to jointly develop a preventive agent against the mosquito-borne Zika virus in an effort to halt the spread of the disease that has affected much of Latin America within the past year.
The companies said Thursday Immunovaccine will use its DepoVax platform to create an anti-Zika vaccine and apply experience from recent projects that sought to create vaccines against the Ebola virus, anthrax and respiratory syncytial virus.
Leidos will also apply its Virtual Pharmaceutical Development Program to the project in order to discover candidate antigens intended to help protect humans from Zika.
“Our virtual pharma approach ensures that we are not beholden to a particular technology or laboratory,” said Jerry Hogge, deputy president of Leidos’ health group.
Halifax, Nova Scotia-headquartered Immunovaccine develops treatments to fight cancer and vaccines to prevent infectious diseases.
“While we remain focused on immuno-oncology, collaborations with partners like Leidos allow us to expand the use and potential value of our platform technology in other applications and markets,” Acting Immunovaccine CEO Frederic Ors said.
Preclinical tests of the Zika virus vaccine will take place in Canada in coordination with the scientific community there.