Old-school vaccines like shots for tetanus don’t add up to good business anymore for doctors who give them, according to a report this week in the Associated Press. Then again, the market for a new breed of vaccines against all sorts of other diseases is booming, on a trajectory from an estimated $10 billion in 2007 to some $24 billion globally by 2012, according to a research report from Kalorama Information.
We’re planning to take a closer look at the changes to the science and business of vaccines in our first Xconomy Seattle event, to be held next Thursday at the Institute for Systems Biology. Here’s a brief rundown of the perspectives our panelists will bring to the conversation:
Todd Patrick (moderator)
Todd Patrick is the former president of ID Biomedical, a Vancouver, BC-based vaccine developer that was sold to GlaxoSmithKline for $1.5 billion in 2005. Patrick is now the CEO of Vaxent, a Memphis, TN-based biotech company that is working to develop the first strep throat vaccine.
Steve Reed is CEO of Immune Design, a Seattle-based biotech startup that raised $18 million in venture capital in June. The company is working on adjuvant compounds that when combined with a specific antigen, are supposed to stimulate a more effective immune system defense against a particular invader like HIV—possibly with a single shot. Reed is also the founder of the Seattle-based Infectious Disease Research Institute, which recently licensed technology to his new company. IDRI is working on multiple vaccines to protect people from tuberculosis, leishmaniasis, malaria, leprosy, and chlamydia.
Denise Galloway is head of the Program in Cancer Biology in the Human Biology and Public Health Sciences Divisions of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. She did pioneering work with researchers in Australia and at the National Institutes of Health on getting a key viral gene to assemble into particles that look like human papillomavirus, the virus that causes cervical cancer. This discovery led to the development of Merck’s Gardasil, which has pumped new life into vaccine research, partly because it exceeded $1.5 billion a year in sales in 2007, its first full year on the market.
Chris Elias is CEO of PATH, an international non-profit that works to alleviate disparities in health worldwide. PATH is the lead organization running a $168.7 million Malaria Vaccine Initiative financed by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The organization also sponsors work toward developing next-generation pneumococcal vaccines—to prevent childhood pneumonia and meningitis. This week, PATH also announced it is investing $3 million in a vaccine candidate in development by Gaithersburg, MD-based Lentigen that may protect against “bird flu.”
It’s a stellar lineup and a great evening of insight and networking. You can register here, and we hope to see you there.