(Adds details, background, share closing)
Sept 4 NewLink Genetics Corp said the
U.S. Food and Drug Administration allowed the company to start
testing an experimental Ebola vaccine in humans.
The move follows a decision to begin initial human testing
of a GlaxoSmithKline vaccine this month and an approval
to fast track tests of a Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
The race to develop new drugs and vaccines has been spurred
by a World Health Organisation ruling that it is ethical to use
experimental products in the current epidemic, given the high
NewLink's vaccine, which has shown success in animals, was
developed by Canadian government scientists and licensed to the
The Ames, Iowa-based company's stock was up 4 percent at
$27.11 on the Nasdaq in premarket trade on Thursday.
The vaccine works by using a weakened virus, a pathogen
found in livestock called vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV).
One of the virus's genes is replaced by a gene from the
Ebola virus. The Ebola gene makes a harmless protein that sits
on the virus's outer coat.
The idea is that after the VSV is injected, the body's
immune system will recognize the Ebola protein as foreign and
begin making antibodies that destroy Ebola viruses, all of which
have the protein.
The study will evaluate how 40 healthy adults respond to
various doses of vaccine.
Reuters exclusively reported last month that the company had
enough doses on hand to launch its first human safety trial this
(Reporting by Natalie Grover in Bangalore; Editing by Saumyadeb