FluGen has won a $14.4 million grant from the Defense Dept.’s Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program’s Peer Reviewed Medical research program’s mechanism to test its lead universal flu vaccine, RedeeFlu, the company said today.
As part of the three-year award, the Madison, Wis.-based company will run two studies of RedeeFlu to show that the universal flu vaccine can protect against infection from mismatched influenza strains. The studies will be designed so that half of the participants will be vaccinated and half will receive a placebo, but all will be infected with a flu virus, the company explained.
FluGen added that it will use part of the award money to study correlates of immunity or biological markers that demonstrate its vaccine’s efficacy in a given patient population.
“This study seeks to identify whether RedeeFlu is capable of solving one of the biggest problems current influenza vaccines have- the inability to protect against new influenza strains,” Dr. Robert Belshe, FluGen’s clinical advisory board chairman, said in prepared remarks.
“We are always vaccinating against last years epidemic influenza viruses. If this vaccine can protect against a shifted or drifted influenza strain, it would be an important advance in the protection against influenza.”