October 20, 2020
Henry M. Jackson Foundation for the Advancement of Military Medicine, Inc. (HJF) and Citranvi Biosciences (Citranvi), a company led by former vaccine developers and scientists from top pharmaceutical companies, have signed an exclusive licensing agreement to develop vaccine technologies to prevent Cytomegalovirus (CMV) and Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV) infections.
Research for these technologies was conducted by DoD researchers at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USU) and patented by the Henry M. Jackson Foundation under the USU-HJF Joint Office of Technology Transfer.
“The dangers posed by congenital CMV and EBV are significant,” said Dr. Krishna Prasad, Founder of Citranvi Biosciences, based in North Carolina. “Citranvi is excited to partner with HJF toward the goal of developing vaccines.”
CMV has a significant maternal-to-infant infection rate and is the most common infectious cause of brain damage and sensorineural hearing loss in infants. Nearly 30%–40% of adolescents who contract EBV will develop infectious mononucleosis, which can lead to serious complications such as liver failure, splenic rupture, and hematologic disorders. EBV is also linked with an increased risk for autoimmunity and nearly 140,000 cancer deaths annually. Infections due to CMV and EBV pose significant risks for transplant patients.
The technology can be used to produce recombinant proteins in a multimeric form, thereby increasing the ability of the vaccines to generate protective antibodies.
“Herpesviruses can impact anyone, even warfighters. Consequently, they pose a risk to force readiness,” said HJF President and CEO, Dr. Joseph Caravalho. “HJF’s mission is to advance military medicine and part of that mandate is ensuring our nation’s warfighters are healthy and able to fulfill their mission. The hope is that this partnership with Citranvi will lead to a new vaccine to fight EBV and CMV, ultimately improving force readiness and benefiting warfighters and civilians alike.”
Research for these technologies was conducted at The Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USU). This research was sponsored by USU; however, the information or content and conclusions do not necessarily represent the official position or policy of, nor should any official endorsement be inferred on the part of, USU, the Department of Defense, or the U.S. Government.
The project described was supported by Grant Number 1R21AI073627 from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease or the National Institutes of Health.