Kejian Yang Ph.D., a research director at BioMedical Research Models Inc has been awarded a three year grant from the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID) totaling $2,563,532. The objectives of this grant are to extend studies and develop a vaccination strategy for genital herpes. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provided initial funding to develop the platform. The CDC reports that approximately 20% of the adult population in the USA is infected with Herpes Simplex Viruses type 2 (HSV-2). Infection with HSV-2 can result in significant morbidity and psychological suffering. In addition, vertical transmission of virus from mother to infant and infections in immunocompromised individuals can lead to viral encephalitis and/or dissemination of virus throughout the body. HSV-2 has also been identified as a cofactor for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).
The development of this vaccine would clearly have an impact on the greater than $1.6 billion spent annually on direct medical costs associated with HSV-2. The U.S. Public Health Service (PHS) has recognized the significant public health issues caused by herpes simplex virus. The PHS publication, “Healthy People 2010”, has set sexually transmitted diseases as a national priority with a goal to reduce the number of adults infected with human papilloma virus and HSV-2.
Biomedical Research Models, Inc. (BRM) is a biopharmaceutical company with sites in Worcester/Springfield, MA and Baltimore, MD (Biomere LLC). BRM is dedicated to the discovery, development and commercialization of novel proprietary therapeutics. BRM has become a cash-flow positive company with active research pipelines including the 1) continued development of animal models to study autoimmune diseases, 2) identification of viruses that initiate autoimmune disease and 3) development of novel vaccine platform to combat these viruses. In addition the vaccine platform has been demonstrated to be effective for the prevention of herpes infections in animal models.