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Licensing agreement advances RSV vaccine patented by St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

Photo of Julia Hurwitz

St. Jude Children's Research Hospital recently announced that it has signed a licensing agreement granting Serum Institute of India exclusive rights to complete the development of the hospital's respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, vaccine.

Through this agreement, Serum Institute of India will be able to design and conduct clinical trials investigating the intranasal SeVRSV vaccine and commercialize the vaccine in South America, Africa and much of Asia, according to a press release.

"RSV remains a serious threat to infants worldwide during their first year of life and to anyone, including pediatric cancer patients, whose immune response has been weakened by illness or age," James R. Downing, MD, president and CEO at St. Jude, said in the release. "We are pleased that Serum's staff and leadership have recognized the life-saving potential of this vaccine. We look forward to working closely with them to make this vaccine accessible around the globe."

RSV is a common cause of lower respiratory infections, affecting as many as 43 million children younger than 5 years of age worldwide each year, the release said. About 10% of these patients may require hospitalization.

Julia Hurwitz, PhD, of the department of infectious disease at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, told Infectious Disease News that the SeVRSV vaccine has been in development for more than 10 years. The vaccine is composed of a mouse parainfluenza virus type 1 that researchers modified to carry an RSV gene, according to the release. Because the mouse parainfluenza virus type 1 is similar to the human parainfluenza virus type 1 — a common cause of croup in children — researchers designed the vaccine to protect against serious infections caused by both RSV and croup. The vaccine, which is one of dozens currently in development for RSV worldwide, appeared to be safe and effective during preclinical trials, the release said.


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