Rational Vaccines and Shenzhen Mellow Hope Partner on Herpes Vaccines in China

31 October 2023 | Tuesday | News

The partnership will further therapeutic and prophylactic vaccine development for the Chinese market and beyond.
Image Source : Public Domain

Image Source : Public Domain

Rational Vaccines (RVx) and Shenzhen Mellow Hope Pharm Industrial Co., Ltd. (MH) announced they have reached an agreement to jointly develop, manufacture, and commercialize live vaccines against herpes simplex viruses (HSV-1 and HSV-2).

"For over 40 years there have been a multitude of failed attempts to create a herpes vaccine using recombinant protein subunit-based vaccines.  The data shows this approach will not work for HSV," said Agustin Fernandez III, CEO and Founder at RVx. "We are confident a live attenuated vaccine is the only way to combat and prevent herpetic disease. We are excited that the top vaccine experts in China share our vision. It is an honor to tackle this mission with our partners at MH."

Professor Frank Zhuang, Vice Chairman of Virology at the Chinese Medical Association, said, "The Chinese population, like many globally, suffers from the spread of herpes and lacks awareness of the associated risks. There is no pharmaceutical or TCM solution to herpes and these vaccines represent an invaluable new solution to a broad population."

The vaccines will be advanced in China using RVx's proprietary virus mutants. The live HSV-2 viruses used in the vaccines are engineered to be replication-competent and are unable to establish latency in the nervous system. The immune system responds by attacking the weakened virus and eliminating it from the body. The targeted immune response elicited by RVx vaccines has the potential to also defend against viral reactivation in patients who are already infected with either HSV-1 or HSV-2

These viruses have received support from the US National Institute of Health (NIH) and the vaccines have received the coveted Innovative Access and License Pathway (ILAP) designation by MHRA, to accelerate development and approval in the United Kingdom.

Zhuang said MH was impressed with the technology and the associated data. "We are convinced these vaccines will greatly improve the major public health issue of herpetic diseases, so often misunderstood and neglected," he said.

While several vaccines have been evaluated for preventing and treating HSV infections, none have received FDA approval. RVx aims to be the first.

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