MinervaX, a Danish biotechnology company developing a novel, prophylactic vaccine against Group B Streptococcus (GBS), has completed enrolment and initial dosing in its Phase I clinical vaccine trial in older adults. The trial is taking place at CEVAC (Centre for Vaccinology), Ghent University, Belgium.
GBS is most commonly associated with pregnant women and newborn babies. However, invasive GBS disease infections in the elderly population are continuously increasing. These can have devastating consequences – particularly if the person has a serious health condition such as diabetes mellitus, cancer, or a suppressed immune system.
To tackle this issue, MinervaX has expanded the development pipeline of its novel GBS vaccine to include older adults, addressing the global burden and urgent need for the development of a vaccine to prevent and reduce deaths associated with GBS across the population.
In pregnant women, MinervaX is currently progressing two Phase II clinical vaccine trials for the prevention of life-threatening infections in newborns. The trials are demonstrating that the vaccine has an acceptable safety profile, is highly immunogenic and gives rise to functionally active antibodies.
Phase I clinical vaccine trial in older adults
In April 2023, the company commenced enrolment for its Phase I clinical vaccine trial in older adults. Enrolment and administration of the first dose to all participants is now complete.
The Phase I vaccine trial will investigate the vaccine’s safety and immunogenicity in both healthy older adults and older adults with underlying medical conditions, i.e., diabetes and/or obesity, in an age range of 55 to 75.
Two dose levels are being investigated: a lower dose level of 50μg of fusion protein, which is also used in MinervaX’s two Phase II clinical trials in pregnant women, as well as a higher dose level of 125μg of fusion protein.
In addition, all older adult participants will receive three doses of the vaccine. The administration of one more jab than in the Phase II clinical vaccine trial in pregnant women, as well as the investigation of a higher dose level, takes into account that older adults – especially those with comorbidities – tend to exhibit weaker immune responses.
All participants have now received one dose and further dosing is progressing smoothly with first immunological read-outs anticipated in Q4, 2023.
Lidia Oostvogels, Chief Medical Officer of MinervaX, said: “The smooth completion of enrolment and dose escalation provides an indication of the overall acceptable reactogenicity profile of our novel GBS vaccine and replicates the findings in our two ongoing Phase II trials in pregnant women. This allows us to accelerate the development of this potentially lifesaving vaccine to address the global unmet medical need. I would like to thank the participants of the trial and the team at CEVAC who is being instrumental throughout the trial, and I look forward to providing initial results in Q4, 2023.”
Professor Isabel Leroux-Roels, Principal Investigator at CEVAC, commented: “We at CEVAC are very pleased to be contributing to this Phase I trial against this severe disease. Recruiting the many volunteers for this hugely important trial is a step forward to demonstrate that MinervaX’s novel vaccine works. We are very grateful to all the volunteers involved in the trial and will be following up with each participant accordingly. We are excited to see the data reported later this year.”