D.C. Vaccine Conference: Why Investors Should Stay Tuned

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Includes: ABT, CVM, MRK, NVS, SNY
by: M. E. Garza

On Monday and Tuesday of this week, the 7th Annual Vaccines: All Things Considered Conference is taking place in Washington, DC.

Investors should keep an eye on this event, which serves as an one-stop destination for valuable updates and exposure on all aspects of vaccine research, development, regulations, and policy via key, intimate presentations by innovative biotech companies and government regulators. Organizers aim to provide exposure to all avenues of vaccine research, development, regulations and policy and updates on the flu pandemic, bio-defense policy. The National Vaccine Plan will also be addressed and discussed.

Several government officials, including representatives from the United States Department of Health and Human Services, National Research Council of Canada, National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, and the Food and Drug Administration, come together at this conference with with representatives from several key biotech and pharmaceutical companies to provide a first-hand reference of the current U.S. vaccines policy and regulations and updates on pandemic and bio-defense policies.

Attendees will gather to discuss the most recent advancements in novel vaccines designed to target infectious disease like Influenza and AIDS, and will also attempt to gain ideas to use vaccines to target non-infectious diseases such as cancer and allergies.

"The research and discovery of vaccines to fight globally prevalent diseases has been a major focus of the pharmaceutical industry’s biggest players for decades," say members of the conference's organizing committee.

The pharmaceutical world has recently been rocked by the pending expiration of patents on several major block-buster drugs. How does this affect funding for vaccine research and development? What will be the path forward? How will the generic drug industry affect the vaccines market? These are just a few of the questions the Vaccines conference will address and answer.

Scheduled to present the event's opening remarks and to moderate several of the key presentation sessions is Dr. Daniel Zimmerman, Ph.D., (recently interviewed exclusively by BioMedReports), Senior Vice President Research and Development, Cellular Immunology for CEL-SCI Corporation (AMEX:CVM). Zimmerman's work at the company and in partnership with several research university partners has been attracting a great deal of attention in both the H1N1 influenza and inflammatory disease space lately.

Companies who will share the spotlight in front of some of the key officials from the government agencies include:

Ibis Biosciences, Inc. - In January of this year, this former subsidiary of Isis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. was acquired by Abbott (NYSE: ABT) for a total acquisition price of $215 million plus earn out payments.. The company develops, manufactures, and markets products for the identification and characterization of infectious agents.

Immunovaccine, Inc. [CVE:IMV] a biotechnology company developing high potential vaccines for human health. Immunovaccine’s most advanced product is DPX-0907, a therapeutic vaccine against ovarian, breast and prostate cancer that, in conjunction with its vaccine delivery technology, is being readied to enter Phase 1 human clinical trials. The company will pursue a fast-track regulatory strategy by taking the product through a short Phase 1 into a Phase 2 clinical trial. In June, the company announced its intention to go public through an RTO transaction on the TSX-V exchange and with FDA approval for Phase I human clinical trial for ovarian, breast and prostate cancer vaccine to begin Q1 2010.

Advaxis, Inc. [OTC:ADXS] a biotechnology company that uses a bioengineered bacterium, Listeria monocytogenes to activate the immune system to treat cancer, infectious disease or allergic syndromes. Unlike other therapeutic approaches, in pre-clinical research Advaxis’ Listeria technology has been able to consistently demonstrate complete therapeutic responses resulting in complete tumor regression. Preliminary results in humans have shown this technology to be safe, and the therapeutic outcomes are very encouraging. Advaxis is developing multiple platform approaches to the treatment of several cancers which represent a market potential in excess of $10 billion.

EpiVax, a privately held company based in Providence, RI. dedicated to the development and implementation of computational immunology tools to benefit the biotechnology industry.

VaxArt, a privately held biotech company based in San Francisco, CA.

VaxDesign, a privately held biotech company based in Orlando, FL that develops in vitro models of human immunity that are functionally equivalent to the human immune system. The technologies help drug and vaccine development companies to obtain predictions of human outcomes for their therapies and have the potential to save companies years of development time and millions of dollars of development costs.

At least three big pharmaceutical companies will also have representatives in attendance, including Novartis (NYSE:NVS), Sanofi Pasteur (NASDAQ:SNY), and Merck (NYSE:MRK).

Representatives from the academic research field will include:

Dr. Kenneth S. Rosenthal, Ph.D., ProfessorMicrobiology/Immunology, Northeastern Ohio Universities Colleges of Medicine and Pharmacy

Pirouz Daftarian, Head, Biological Modifiers Laboratory, University of Miami

Disclosure: Long NVS, CVM