Finnish vaccine technology plays key role in development of a new tuberculosis vaccine

29 March 2009, Press Release

FIT Biotech has developed a proprietary GTU® (Gene Transport Unit) – technology that is now being used in developing a more efficient vaccine against tuberculosis. Dr. Jelle Thole of Tuberculosis Vaccine Initiative – foundation emphasized in his presentation at the VIII National Tuberculosis Day that the current BCG-vaccine is not effective nor safe enough to combat the global challenge. TBVI has chosen FIT Biotech’s vaccine technology in its development program aiming at developing a new and more effective TB-vaccine as well as at eliminating tuberculosis by 2050.

GTU®-vector technology developed and patented by FIT Biotech is well suited for a TB-vaccine. The new vaccine under development does not contain any live bacteria but is based on immune response induced by genes of mycobacterial origin. A DNA-vaccine using GTU®-technology elicits a long-lasting cell mediated immunity. FIT Biotech is one of the leading companies in DNA-technology and FIT has advanced to clinical trials in HIV-vaccine development In addition to enabling development of a safe vaccine, FIT Biotech’s technology makes manufacturing faster and cheaper than the currently used BCG-vaccine.

Tuberculosis remains a major global health problem: it’s estimated that one third of global population – 2 billion people – is infected with mycobacterium and almost 2 million people die of tuberculosis annually.”We need a totally new vaccine to eliminate the disease. Combining novel mycobacterial antigens with modern DNA-vaccine technology may result in a globally superior vaccine against tuberculosis” states Dr. Mika Rämet, professor of applied pediatric infectious diseases and immunology of Tampere University.

Additional information

CEO, President Kalevi Reijonen, FIT Biotech Ltd, phone: 040 843 5695

Tuberculosis Vaccine Initiative (TBVI) is a non-profit foundation started to continue EC-financed Tuberculosis Vaccine -project (FP6 TBVAC). The foundation was established 13.11.2008 at European commission PDR (Poverty Related Diseases) –meeting. TBVI supports vaccine projects between academic institutions and industry. TBVI is the leading European foundation dedicated in developing a new more effective tuberculosis vaccine using novel technologies.

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