The Biocine Co., a joint venture between Chiron Corp. andCiba-Geigy Ltd., has begun a Phase I trial of its cytomegalovirus(CMV) glycoprotein vaccine candidate. "This is the first geneticallyengineered CMV vaccine to enter human clinical trials," Larry Kurtz,Chiron's vice president, corporate communications, told BioWorld."We have the broadest program in researching and developing newvaccines for adult infectious diseases. This extends thatleadership position."Kurtz said the vaccine will be tested in about 60 healthy volunteersin various subsets receiving different doses and combinations ofthe glycoprotein and adjuvant. Studies will be conducted at theUniversity of Alabama at Birmingham and at the Medical College ofVirginia Campus of Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond.In preclinical testing, the vaccine demonstrated the ability tospecifically activate immune cells and generate antibodies toblock virus infection. The joint venture involving Chiron, ofEmeryville, Calif., and Ciba-Geigy, of Basel, Switzerland, recentlybegan a Phase III trial of vaccines to treat or prevent genital herpes.Biocine also has an enhanced influenza vaccine that has completedPhase II studies, Kurtz said, and HIV vaccines in Phase I and II trials.Last year, Biocine launched Acellulax, a genetically engineeredacellular pertussis vaccine, in Italy, and is testing Acellulaxin combined with diphtheria and tetanus. _ Jim Shrine
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