The US Air Force seeks a partner to license and commercialize a live, attenuated vaccine against tularemia.
The US Air Force, 711th Human Performance Wing, has developed a novel, live attenuated vaccine against tularemia, or rabbit fever, by inactivating a gene from the group pri A and pur A in the bacteria Francisella tularensis. Evaluations of the vaccine using a mouse infection model demonstrated all immunized mice survived challenge with a virulent strain, F. tularensis Schu4. New vaccines are urgently needed as there is no FDA approved vaccine for tularemia.
Tularemia is a severely debilitating and sometimes fatal disease caused by F. tularensis that is naturally found in rabbits, rodents, aquatic environments and soil. While the global incidence of tularemia is relatively low, outbreaks frequently occur in wildlife and can quickly jump to humans. People become infected via tick and deer fly bites, drinking contaminated water, inhalation of contaminated aerosols and skin contact with infected animals. From 2001 – 2010, regions of Turkey had the highest annual incidence of 5.2 per 100,000. The state of Colorado had a 3-fold increase in cases in 2015. In 2000, Martha’s Vineyard saw 15 cases and one fatality over a short period in the summer.
F. tularensis has been identified as a potential biological warfare agent by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and is a category A select agent. It is easily aerosolized, extremely infectious and produces a high degree of incapacitation in infected persons.
• Tularemia vaccine: for humans and animals
• Research reagent: a tool to develop new tularemia treatments - screening data available
• Live vaccine: best imitation of natural infection, resulting in a strong immune response
• Broad market: needed by both the military and civilians
• US Patent Number 9,272,027 is available for license