(New throughout, adds interview with CEO; adds byline)
By Rod Nickel
WINNIPEG, Manitoba Aug 25 Four monkeys survived
the Ebola virus after being injected with a vaccine that
included Immunovaccine Inc's technology, the tiny
Canadian company said on Monday, and the announcement sent its
The Halifax, Nova Scotia-based company said four monkeys
received the vaccine and later survived a dose of Ebola virus
that normally would have been lethal. Two other animals that did
not receive the vaccine died within a week.
Immunovaccine, which had a market capitalization of about
C$77 million as of Friday, is one of a handful of companies
involved in testing potential vaccines for the Ebola virus,
which has killed nearly 1,500 people in West Africa.
Its Ebola program started a few months ago, after the U.S.
National Institutes of Health asked Immunovaccine to apply
technology from the company's anthrax vaccine to Ebola. The work
was part of NIH tests on possible antigens, substances that
cause the immune system to produce antibodies against Ebola.
Unlike antigens in some other early-stage Ebola vaccines,
Immunovaccine's antigen does not use a live virus to carry the
vaccine into cells.
The company has not disclosed the nature of its antigen.
Generally, it "presents those vaccines to the immune system
in a slightly different way so that the immune system processes
the vaccine a lot better, and as a result produces stronger
immunity to that target," Chief Executive Marc Mansour said in
He said the company is exploring options to develop the
vaccine with various organizations, but would not identify them.
Assuming it strikes the partnerships it needs to continue
development, clinical trials could start as early as next year,
Other companies testing Ebola vaccines include U.S.-based
NewLink Genetics Corp, which holds the licence for a
vaccine developed by the Canadian government, privately held
Profectus BioSciences and British drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline PLC
Immunovaccine is also developing therapies for cancer.
Its stock on the TSX Venture Exchange jumped as much as 44
percent after a trading halt, and was up 16.5 percent at C$1.13
in afternoon trading.
(Reporting by Rod Nickel in Winnipeg, Manitoba; Editing by