Patients with impaired immune systems, especially those with advanced cases of HIV/AIDS, are markedly susceptible to a vicious and deadly lung infection, Pneumocystis pneumonia (PCP). The symptoms of PCP infection include pneumonia, fever, and respiratory symptoms such as dry cough, chest pain and shortness of breath. Untreated, PCP can result in respiratory failure and death. Unfortunately, the current standard of treatment for PCP, antibiotics, are plagued by side-effects, are costly, and are often ineffective. For these reasons, the healthcare market has a strong need for new prevention and treatment options for patients at risk for developing PCP.
Recently, Dr. Jay Kolls, Professor at Louisiana State University – Health Sciences Center, has developed a novel vaccine termed MVX504 that has demonstrated efficacy in preventing PCP infection, even in hosts with impaired immune systems such as patients with HIV/AIDS. A spin-out company, MiniVax, has been developed around this patent-pending technology in order to bring to market this new treatment option which has implications not only for HIV/AIDS patients but also other immunocompromised individuals such as premature or severely malnourished children, the elderly, patients who are receiving chemotherapy for cancer treatment, and those undergoing solid organ or bone marrow transplantation.
Currently, MiniVax is in the process of applying for federal SBIR and STTR grants and actively starting the fund raising process to fund its operational plans for the next three years. These finances will help to offset the high cost of moving the vaccine from mice into non-human primates for studies, which will be used to initiate fast tracked FDA clinical trials for an orphan disease status and have a safe and effective broadly protective fungal vaccine.
MiniVax's objective is to design a vaccine, MVX504, which prevents opportunistic fungal infections such as PCP in immunocompromised individuals of all ages. This goal will be achieved by developing a strategic position that leverages the following features of our patent-pending "mini kexin" technology: