Research scientists at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USU), along with collaborators from other institutions, have developed the first treatment for and the first vaccine against the deadly Hendra and Nipah viruses (respectively, a human monoclonal antibody and a recombinant soluble Hendra virus G glycoprotein [sG] vaccine).
The technology was successfully transferred to two laboratories in Australia (i.e., the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) and the Australian Animal Health Laboratory (AAHL) in Geelong, Australia) and a multinational animal health company due to the efforts of the USU team. They successfully negotiated agreements related to the transfer due to their relationships with the other parties and their ability to develop innovative methods to ensure the successful transfer of the technology.
The transfer of the monoclonal antibody technology was time-sensitive since it was necessary to treat Hendra-exposed people during the treatment window of opportunity.
The negotiations were an extended process; therefore, in order to keep the science moving forward and facilitate the vaccine development, a Material Transfer Agreement (MTA) was executed while the subsequent Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) and license agreement were negotiated. The transfer of the monoclonal antibody technology was time-sensitive since it was necessary to treat Hendra-exposed people during the treatment window of opportunity. The USU team worked with Queensland Health to develop a letter agreement to allow compassionate use of the antibody.
The monoclonal antibody has been successfully administered (through a compassionate use exception) to three individuals in Australia who had significant exposure to Hendra virus from contact with infected horses.
The Hendra-sG vaccine is protective in multiple animal species, including ferrets, felines, nonhuman primates, and horses (equines). An approved equine vaccine developed as part of the collaboration and transfer of the Hendra-sG technology will soon be commercially available in Australia.