vaccineJanssen Pharmaceuticals  has entered into a definitive collaboration and license agreement with Bavarian Nordic to leverage their MVA-BN technology, jointly with Janssen’s own AdVac technology, in the development and commercialization of a heterologous prime-boost vaccine for the treatment of Human Papillomavirus (HPV) chronic infections which can lead to cancer.

Under this agreement, Janssen will conduct all clinical development and, subject to regulatory approval, will be responsible for registration, distribution and commercialization of the potential combination vaccine worldwide.

Despite a recent focus on the prevention of infection for certain HPV types, a large population remains at risk of HPV-related cancers.  Janssen will leverage the prime-boost approach, similar to that used in its Ebola vaccine regimen which is currently in Phase III clinical trials. This approach has shown to induce a strong and longer-lasting immune response, demonstrated by both increased antibodies and T cell responses. The goal is to
develop a therapeutic vaccine which aims to intercept HPV infection-related disease, particularly in women and men who are diagnosed with HPV early, by enhancing the ability of the immune system to treat chronic infections and prevent progression to cancer.

“HPV carries a significant disease burden, which can be addressed by intercepting disease progression and treating the viral infection,” says Johan Van Hoof, MD, Global Head, Infectious Diseases and Vaccines, Janssen. “We are bringing together our technology with that of Bavarian Nordic to develop a potentially first-in-class HPV vaccine which could advance human health by reducing the number of new cancer cases and associated deaths.”

HPV-related cancers, which occur when a chronic infection of some HPV types cause changes to infected cells, are responsible for more than 650 thousand cases globally each year.  HPV is the primary cause of cervical cancer and certain types of head and neck cancer, in addition to several rare cancers. With more than 300 million estimated infections among men and women annually, HPV is the most prevalent sexually transmitted disease in the world.