$880,000 Grant ... 8 November 2006: Imugene (ASX:IMU) has been offered an Australian government Commercial Ready Grant to produce and test vaccines to protect chickens from the H5N1 avian influenza virus.
Imugene has already announced the construction of vaccine candidates and that these will undergo live testing in a high security facility operated by Benchmark Biolabs in Nebraska, US. These trials begin later this month and are scheduled for completion in January 2007.
Imugene has designed vaccines to be inexpensive, safe, and easy to mass administer in poultry sheds. This will enable rapid and widespread protection of commercial poultry without the need to individually inject each bird.
The vaccines for egg-laying and meat producing chickens could make a substantial contribution to protecting poultry from avian influenza.
The Imugene vaccines use technology that enables identification of naturally infected and vaccinated birds. This is very important for the international poultry trade and for eradication programs.
Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane congratulated Imugene Limited on being offered the grant. "Bird flu is deadly and unpredictable and a project to test vaccines to protect chickens from the virus will be an enormous breakthrough," Mr Macfarlane said.
"The Australian Government is committed to helping companies such as Imugene develop vaccines which can be used globally and rid the world of a deadly threat. What is very encouraging is that the company is already primed to commence trials soon, with a completion date in early in 2007.”
“This funding is important for Imugene and its shareholders as it strengthens our financial resources for product development,” said Dr Warwick Lamb, managing director of Imugene.