Allied Healthcare Group’s (ASX: AHZ) closely watched herpes therapeutic vaccine trial is progressing well with participants now receiving the last of three doses with no safety issues reported to date.
The therapeutic vaccine developed by Professor Ian Frazer and his science team at Coridon is designed to prevent transmission of as well as treat herpes simplex virus 2 (HSV-2).
Allied has a 50.1% share in Coridon.
“We anticipate the results of this trial will provide us with very important safety data, as well as the first indication of the vaccine’s protective and therapeutic effect in humans,” Allied Healthcare chief executive officer Lee Rodne said.
He added the core technology had already shown very positive results in pre-clinical studies and that the Phase I study would further validate Professor Frazer’s immunotherapeutic vaccine technology.
“We hope to see this technology’s ability to stimulate the immune system and therefore have the potential to produce a treatment for herpes, as well as being a platform to develop potential treatments for a broad range of viral, bacterial and cancer-related diseases.”
Herpes therapeutic vaccine trial
The trial is being undertaken by Professor Frazer and his team in Brisbane on five cohorts with four participants in each cohort.
Each participant will receive three doses via intradermal injection during the study, which is focused primarily on safety. All participants were screened to exclude previous exposure to Herpes simplex virus 1 (cold sores) or HSV-2 (genital herpes.
The results will also provide an early indicator of the vaccine’s ability to generate an effective immune response.
HSV-2 genital herpes
Genital herpes affects more than 1 in 6 Americans between ages 14 and 49 according to the Centers for Disease Control in the U.S.
WHO estimates the number of people aged 15–49 years who are living with HSV-2 worldwide exceeds half a billion.
Most individuals infected with HSV-2 experience either no symptoms or have very mild symptoms that go unnoticed or are mistaken for another skin condition and as a result are often unaware of their infection until an outbreak occurs.
Notably, there is currently no cure for HSV-2.
The high infection rates make for a large market, which is estimated to be worth up to $6 billion.
With a high infection rate and no current cure for HSV-2, proving up the effectiveness of Allied Healthcare’s vaccine would open up a massive market that has not being previously tapped.
Shares in the company are likely to open higher on ongoing confirmation about the vaccine’s safety, which is encouraging.
Prof Ian Frazer, is in our view one of Australia's greatest scientists. His work linking the human papilloma virus (HPV) and cervical cancer to create a world-first vaccine was outstanding - success with HSV-2 could very well lead to vaccinations for HIV or hepatitus C.
Based on operational progress and upcoming catalysts and milestones ahead, Proactive Investors is maintaining our share price target for Allied of $0.14 within six to nine months.
We would note that the company’s shares were priced at $0.026 a year ago (compared to the current price of $0.105) and that our previous guidance of $0.07 made in June 2013 – when prices ranged from $0.04 to $0.059 – was surpassed in just two month on 19 August.
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