ZUG, Switzerland, December 12 /PRNewswire/ -- Swiss AmVac AG establishes comprehensive collaboration with the National Health Research Institutes in Taiwan to combat H5N1. H5N1/Influenza A is a flu virus known colloquially as avian flu. Avian flu first occurred in Asia, and was transmitted to humans in a number of cases.

AmVac's CSO Prof. Michel Klein attended the opening ceremony of the pilot plant Vaccine Centre of the National Health Research Institutes in Taiwan. It was resolved to launch a joint collaboration with the aim of developing a new avian flu vaccine. The Taiwanese scientists have decided to use the vaccine adjuvant MALP-2 from AmVac AG for this. The AmVac adjuvant is eminently suitable for absorption through the mucosal membranes. Thus, for the first time, a nasal spray that is safe and at the same time easy to handle, could be feasible as a vaccination product. Through the use of this innovative and highly potential adjuvant, AmVac AG is making a decisive contribution to the development of a novel H5N1 vaccine: the immune system is strengthened effectively and permanently. At the same time, the implementation of the adjuvant makes it possible to reduce the quantity of the antigen used, which is often expensive. Therefore, large quantities of vaccine can be produced more quickly and at a lower price. This is essential, particularly in case of a possible pandemic.

Prof. Michel Klein, CSO of AmVac AG: Mucosal vaccination via the mucous membranes is the most efficient strategy to elicit both strong local and systemic immunity against respiratory viruses. Intranasal immunization against flu would allow for the production of protective antibody responses at the site of entry of the virus.

Up to now, the development of a flu vaccine spray has been hampered by the lack of a safe adjuvant capable of enhancing strong mucosal immunity. AmVac has acquired exclusive rights to the adjuvant MALP-2 (Macrophage Activating Lipopeptide-2), developed by Prof. C. Guzman at the Helmholtz Center for Infection Research in Braunschweig, for all infectious diseases worldwide. This synthetic, well-tolerated class of adjuvants acts as a Toll-like receptor agonist in activating cells of the immune system and thus at central sites in mediation of the immune response. Animal models have already shown strong antibody and cellular responses. Preliminary results in mice have revealed that the pandemic H5N1 flu vaccine combined with MALP-2, elicits flu-specific antibodies following intranasal immunization. The first clinical studies on the H5N1 vaccine will start in 2009, while the implementation of the combination with the adjuvant is planned for the clinical setting in 2011.

AmVac AG

AmVac AG is a biopharmaceutical company situated in Switzerland. The company focuses on the vaccine market with its above-average growth figures. There are two therapeutic vaccines in the pipeline, which are soon to be launched in the fields of gynecology and urology. Further innovative vaccines and technologies are at the development stage. The renowned market research company Frost Sullivan awarded AmVac AG the coveted prize Enabling Technology of the Year Award in 2007.

Contact: Ariane Meynert, Head of PR/IR Tel.: +41-41-725-32-34 Mobile: +41-79-793-34-19 E-Mail: meynert@amvac.ch

Contact: Ariane Meynert, Head of PR/IR, Tel.: +41-41-725-32-34, Mobile: +41-79-793-34-19, E-Mail: meynert@amvac.ch