Morningside Ventures has written a $30 million check to fuel an early-stage exploration of a new kind of respiratory syncytial virus.
Meissa Vaccines has chosen a field in which the most high-profile recent development might be the demise of Gates Foundation-backed NovaVax, after its candidate failed to protect either infants or the elderly from respiratory tract infections caused by RSV. AstraZeneca has had more luck with an antibody approach, but other disappointments abound.
“The challenge with generating a live-attenuated RSV vaccine is that the naturally circulating virus doesn’t provide good enough immunity. So, you cannot simply weaken the natural virus and achieve a useful vaccine strain,” he said. “What we have done uniquely is recode the virus genes to attenuate in the host yet provide protective immunity.”
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