ROCKVILLE, Md., Sept. 12 Novavax, Inc. announcedtoday that several candidates have emerged from an ongoing discovery programto create a novel vaccine for preventing disease associated with the VaricellaZoster Virus (VZV) in older adults. These candidates have met certainsignificant scientific criteria established by the Company and are nowtargeted for pre-clinical development.
Varicella Zoster Virus (VZV) causes herpes zoster, or shingles, which is askin rash often with painful blisters, and is the same virus that causeschickenpox. Anyone who has had chickenpox can develop shingles because VZVremains dormant in the nerve cells and may re-emerge many years later causingthe illness. Shingles may affect any age group but occurs most frequently inadults 60 years of age and older and the immunocompromised. The illness iscommon, resulting in over one million cases in the United States each year.The primary complication of shingles includes acute pain, called post-herpeticneuralgia (PHN), and occurs in approximately 65% of affected patients.Shingles-associated pain may last months, or even years, and can have anegative impact on quality of life. It is also associated with high rates ofhospitalization in older adults. The Advisory Committee on ImmunizationPractices ("ACIP"), a federal body of immunization experts, currentlyrecommends vaccination for all individuals 60 years of age or older. Thepotential world-wide market for a VZV vaccine in older adults is estimated toexceed $1 billion annually with currently only one product on the market.
"We believe VZV is a strategic target for Novavax to pursue because of ourexpertise in infectious disease and our proprietary vaccine and manufacturingtechnologies," said Dr. Rahul Singhvi, Novavax's President and CEO."Consistent with our strategy to expand our vaccine pipeline, this new programaddresses a significant unmet medical need and represents an importantopportunity to enhance shareholder value."
Novavax Inc. is committed to leading the global fight against infectiousdisease by creating novel, highly potent vaccines that are safer and moreeffective than current preventive options. Using the company's proprietaryvirus-like particle (VLP) and Novasome(R) adjuvant technologies, Novavax isdeveloping vaccines to protect against H5N1 pandemic influenza, seasonal fluand other viral diseases. Novavax's particulate vaccines closely matchdisease-causing viruses while lacking the genetic material to cause disease,which provides potential for greater immune protection at lower doses thancurrent vaccines. With an exclusive portable manufacturing system that allowsfor rapid mass-production of vaccines, Novavax is uniquely positioned to meetglobal public health needs.
Statements herein relating to future financial or business performance,conditions or strategies and other financial and business matters, includingexpectations regarding product sales, operating expenses, and clinicaldevelopments are forward-looking statements within the meaning of the PrivateSecurities Litigation Reform Act. Novavax cautions that these forward-lookingstatements are subject to numerous assumptions, risks and uncertainties, whichchange over time. Factors that may cause actual results to differ materiallyfrom the results discussed in the forward-looking statements or historicalexperience include risks and uncertainties, including the failure by Novavaxto secure and maintain relationships with collaborators; risks relating to theearly stage of Novavax's product candidates under development; uncertaintiesrelating to preclinical assessments and studies; dependence on the efforts ofthird parties; dependence on intellectual property; competition from othercompanies with greater resources and visibility, and risks that we may lackthe financial resources and access to capital to fun