Collaborative Research and Licensing Opportunity: Zika Virus Vaccines

Scientists at NIAID have developed nucleic acid-based vaccine candidates to prevent ZIKV infection in humans. The current lead candidate vaccine is a plasmid DNA vaccine demonstrated to accord protection in preclinical models and is undergoing clinical trial evaluation.Immunization with the nucleic acid ZIKV vaccine candidate results in production of noninfectious virus like particles (VLPs) made of ZIKV proteins.These ZIKV VLPs elicit an immune response which includes neutralizing antibodies to ZIKV.

Zika virus (ZIKV) is a flavivirus transmitted by mosquitos that is strongly linked to neurological complications including Guillain-Barré syndrome, meningoencephalitis, and microcephaly.The association between active ZIKV infection during pregnancy and microcephaly and intrauterine growth retardation in the fetus has been confirmed in murine models of ZIKV infection.

Scientists at NIAID have developed nucleic acid-based vaccine candidates to prevent ZIKV infection in humans. The current lead candidate vaccine is a plasmid DNA vaccine demonstrated to accord protection in preclinical models and is undergoing clinical trial evaluation. Nucleic acid-based vaccines have been developed previously for West Nile virus, another flavivirus similar to Zika (J.E. Ledgerwood, et al. J. Infect. Dis. (2011) 203 (10): 1396-1404). Immunization with the nucleic acid ZIKV vaccine candidate results in production of noninfectious virus like particles (VLPs) made of ZIKV proteins.These ZIKV VLPs elicit an immune response which includes neutralizing antibodies to ZIKV.

Other preclinical ZIKV vaccine candidates include mRNA, protein, and noninfectious VLPs.

NIAID is continuing development of these vaccine candidates.The DNA-based ZIKV vaccine candidate is currently in clinical trials.Consequently, for some fields of use, NIAID will evaluate a license applicant’s capabilities and experience in advancing similar technologies through the regulatory process.

Potential Commercial Applications:

  • Prevention of Zika virus infection

Competitive Advantages:

  • There is currently no licensed Zika virus vaccine

Development Stage:

  • Currently, DNA-based vaccine candidate in Phase I clinical trial
  • Phase II clinical trial planned for early 2017 for DNA-based vaccine candidate
  • Other candidates are in pre-clinical development

Publications:K.A. Dowd, et al., Science, 354, 237-240 (2016)

DOI: 10.1126/science.aai9137

Intellectual Property:US Patent Application No. 62/396,613 filed September 19, 2016 (HHS Reference No. E-181-2016/0-US-01).

Licensing and Collaborative Research Opportunity:The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases is seeking statements of capability or interest from parties interested in licensing or collaborative research to further develop, evaluate or commercialize Zika virus vaccine technologies. For collaboration opportunities, please contact Dr. Amy Petrik, 240-627-3721; amy.petrik@nih.gov.

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NIAID Technology Transfer and Intellectual Property Office

NIAID’s technology transfer office, TTIPO, is a one-stop resource for organizations interested in partnering with NIAID to access, develop, and manage the translation of research discoveries into medically beneficial products. TTIPO seeks to expand NIAID’s innovation pipeline with existing and new partners in areas such as newly emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases (e.g., dengue, Zika, Ebola, influenza, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and HIV/AIDS), biodefense (e.g., smallpox and anthrax), and immune-mediated diseases (e.g., asthma and allergy).

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