Supported by the Danish National Advanced Technology Foundation
Danish biopharmaceutical firm Bavarian Nordic will participate in a new research project in Denmark to identify pathogens (viruses and bacteria) that may cause cancer, which it says is an important step towards the development of cancer vaccines.
Bavarian Nordic will have exclusive rights to any cancer vaccines that may emerge from the project.
The new study is part of a larger project, which has received a grant of almost DKK90m (€12m; US$16.7m) from the Danish National Advanced Technology Foundation. With Bavarian Nordic as collaborative partner, the project is being headed by scientists from Danish universities, including Professor Eske Willerslev, head of centre for GeoGenetics at the University of Copenhagen and Lars Nielsen, infectious diseases specialist at Statens Serum Institut.
So far it has been difficult to detect new pathogens, but using innovative sequencing technology to characterise and classify the DNA, the researchers will look for yet unknown fragments of DNA, which could lead to the identification of new pathogens related to cancer, the company said.
The project will concentrate on major cancers such as breast, prostate, colon and leukaemia.
Anders Hedegaard, president and ceo of Bavarian Nordic, said: ‘The project is tailored to our business, which is highly specialised in research, development and manufacturing of advanced vaccines. It is obvious that vaccines are the future in cancer treatment and we have already come far in the development of a vaccine for the treatment of advanced prostate cancer called Prostvac.’
Two Bavarian Nordic programmes are currently in Phase III clinical trials: Prostvac is being developed under a collaboration agreement with the National Cancer Institute, and Imvamune, a third-generation smallpox vaccine, is being developed under a contract with the US government.