Allied Healthcare Group's (ASX: AHZ) investment company Coridon is developing a next generation therapeutic Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine targeting one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases in the world.
HPV is associated with several human cancers, most notably cervical cancer.
Cervical cancer is the second largest cause of cancer deaths in women worldwide. Globally, this equates to 510,000 cases per year, and about 288,000 deaths, according to the World Health Organization.
In the U.S. alone, about $1.7 billion is spent each year to treat cervical cancer.
To give an indication of the revenue potential of a HPV vaccine, the two currently used HPV vaccines generate in excess of $1.5 billion in sales annually.
Coridon's HPV vaccine has been designed to combat existing infection with the HPV virus, to prevent and treat cervical and other HPV-associated cancers.
The development program will be based on preliminary work by Coridon founder Professor Ian Frazer's team and follows on from Frazer's work that resulted in the successful cervical cancer preventative vaccines - Gardasil®, marketed by Merck, and Cervarix, marketed by GlaxoSmithKline.
Coridon will initially collaborate with the University of Queensland's Diamantina Institute to test the vaccine in pre-clinical models that they have established.
The company's DNA vaccine technologies differ from conventional vaccines in that they offer both preventative and therapeutic value and have the potential to be delivered with a range of adjuvants.
The technology, which is covered by six granted U.S. patents, enhances protein expression in the cell or tissue targeted and results in an improved humoral response.
"The work by Professor Frazer's team at Coridon has significant potential globally to treat those patients already infected with the virus, something the current vaccines cannot do," Allied Healthcare Group managing director Lee Rodne said.
Allied Healthcare Group is a major investor in Coridon and in October last year increased its investment to help Coridon begin manufacturing and undertake formal pre-clinical safety studies before testing its prototype Herpes Simplex Virus 2 vaccine in a Phase I clinical study.