Biotech company LimmaTech Biologics has signed an in-license agreement with GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) Biologicals to develop and commercialise a quadrivalent bioconjugate vaccine candidate for Shigellosis.

GSK added the vaccine candidate for its infectious disease pipeline when LimmaTech Bio’s predecessor company, GlycoVaxyn, was acquired by GSK in 2015.

The multivalent vaccine candidate is made from antigens from the four most epidemiologically relevant Shigella bacterial strains.

Its safety and immunogenicity are being evaluated in an ongoing Phase 1/2 dose-finding and age-descending double-blind trial of a nine-month-old infant target population.

LimmaTech Bio Clinical and Regulatory Affairs MD and VP Patricia Martin said: “LimmaTech Bio has remained committed to developing our Shigella vaccine candidate and this agreement with GSK has its roots in our successful ongoing partnerships with them.

“We have been a part of the Shigella vaccine program’s journey together with GSK and the Wellcome Trust and the agreement recognises and validates our in-house expertise in vaccine development as well as our capabilities to move the program forward rapidly.”

With the help of the Wellcome Trust, LimmaTech Bio and UK-based GSK have formed a research partnership to create advanced bioconjugate antigen-based vaccines, including a monovalent Shigella vaccine.

After the monovalent Shigella vaccine’s proof-of-concept human challenge clinical trial produced encouraging results, LimmaTech began work on a multivalent Shigella vaccine in 2018 with funding from the Wellcome Trust provided to GSK for the initiative.

The results from the multivalent vaccine’s Phase 1/2 research are anticipated in 2023.

If the safety and immunogenicity tests are successful, crucial efficacy trials will be conducted in the target paediatric group as well as tourists and military people visiting Shigella-endemic nations, the biotech company said.

GSK chief global health officer Thomas Breuer said: “Partnering with the team at LimmaTech Bio to further the development of this Shigella vaccine candidate is a great example of how we can do that.

“LimmaTech will give this candidate vaccine the greatest chance of success, while GSK continues to use its expertise to progress another vaccine in clinical development using a GSK proprietary vaccine platform technology called GMMA.”