Pfenex has received a subcontract from Leidos to develop a robust, scalable, cGMP-ready production process for large-scale production of the blood-stage malaria antigen Plasmodium falciparum reticulocyte-binding homolog 5 (Rh5). The contract follows successful preclinical studies performed by Leidos collaborators to evaluate the Rh5 antigen, which was produced using the Pfenex Expression TechnologyTM platform.
Funding comes from Leidos’ prime Malaria Vaccine Production and Support Services contract from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). Pfenex will immediately commence process development activities while continuing to provide materials to Leidos and NIAID for ongoing preclinical studies.
This is the second contract awarded to Pfenex for the development of critical, hard-to-express malaria antigens. In 2011, Pfenex received a $3.1 million award from Leidos to develop a new malaria vaccine.