Swiss firm Mymetics said on Wednesday it will start in 2008 Phase 1 trials of a possible anti-AIDS vaccine that seeks to produce mucosal antibodies that can resist HIV.
The trials will take place in Belgium on a sample of between 30 to 40 women, Mymetics' scientific director Sylvain Fleury told journalists.
Over 85 percent of HIV infections are the result of genital or intestinal mucosa (membrane in body passages) being exposed to the disease, he said.
Any HIV vaccine that could successfully achieve antibody production into both genital and intestinal tracts might open the door to a new HIV vaccine approach, Mymetics claimed on its website.
The Swiss-based company, which is quoted on the Nasdaq stock index in New York, said it hopes to take its research further, and then either enter into a partnership with a larger company, or sell the product technology, in order to move to Phase III trials targeted at between 15,000-20,000 people.
The cost of such trials is too much for Mymetics to afford on its own, company chairman Christian Rochet said.
Mymetics estimates the vaccine could produce annual sales revenue of between two to four billion dollars (1.3-2.7 billion euros) per year.