In September 2022 the Sabin Vaccine Institute announced that it was “receiving an additional $21.8 million” from the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) in the US. These funds, part of an existing contract, “advance development of a vaccine against Marburg virus disease”. Related to Ebola Zaire, Marburg is among the deadliest viruses in the world. It results in death for around half of the patients it infects. There are currently no vaccines or treatments.  

Trials to begin  

The most recent “tranche of funds” will go towards a “randomised, blinded, placebo-controlled clinical trial” in US adults. This will evaluate the safety and efficacy of the vaccine candidate, advancing non-clinical vaccine dosing studies. Sabin reports that the Phase II trial in the US will begin after it initiates a same-stage trial in Africa, currently scheduled for 2023.  

Amy Finan, CEO of Sabin, described the beginning of Phase II clinical trials for this vaccine as “a pivotal milestone”. She appreciates the “continued confidence in our work and support” from BARDA.  

“Vaccines remain our best bet against death and disability from deadly viruses. I am hopeful that in the years ahead, we can offer this life-saving vaccine to every person who needs it.” 

The existing contract 

BARDA awarded Sabin a multi-year contract in 2019. This was valued at $128 million to “further the development of vaccines against two lethal viruses: Marburg and Ebola Sudan”. To date, Sabin’s programme has been awarded $98.6 million.  

In 2021 Sabin stated that the two candidates were “based on GSK’s proprietary ChAd3 platform” and were licensed to the Sabin Vaccine Institute from GSK in 2019.  

Pertinent programmes 

As the news of a recent outbreak of Marburg in Ghana was reported in August 2022, and a later outbreak of Ebola Sudan detected in Uganda in September 2022, the development of these candidates is critical.  

If you would like to hear more about progress towards these vaccines from Sabin, then get your tickets to the World Vaccine Congress in October 2022.