UltiMalVax, a new highly collaborative project to develop the next generation malaria vaccine
Over the next 4 years, the UltiMalVax consortium will work to develop the ultimate vaccine for malaria elimination. This would be a multi-species, multi-stage malaria vaccine that will target malaria parasites found in Africa, Asia, and south America. The vaccine will prevent P. falciparum and P. vivax malaria and reduce transmission of both parasites.
June 21, 2023
There have been several very encouraging steps for malaria vaccines. The first vaccine to receive a recommendation for wider use by a WHO policy committee in 2021, was RTS,S/AS01 vaccine (MosquirixTM) by GSK. This vaccine, however, has moderate efficacy of 39-63%, and only a limited supply is available thereby limiting its use. The second most advance malaria vaccine is the R21/Matrix-MTM vaccine that showed high efficacy of 77% against malaria over two years of follow-up in west African children. This vaccine, developed by Oxford University, the Serum Institute of India and Novavax, is currently undergoing phase III testing, but has already been approved in Ghana and Nigeria.
The UltiMalVax consortium brings together academics, non-profits and a wide range of companies with both leading technologies and GMP manufacturing capacity. This project which started on 1st May 2023, builds on the recent success of several partners in the R21/Matrix-M programme and aims to accelerate the malaria eradication agenda by providing the first vaccine to tackle both major malaria parasite species and confer both individual and community protection on the way to eradication. The consortium has an ambitious goal of developing the first single vaccine with clinical efficacy in preventing both P. falciparum and P. vivax malaria, and which would also impact on the transmission of both parasites with a single vaccine formulation.
The consortium will develop and assess both established virus-like particle (VLP) vaccines in potent saponin adjuvants and exciting new thermostable mRNA vaccines. This would provide a highly cost-effective and scalable tool for large-scale malaria elimination and eventual eradication. The project is supported by funding from the European Commission, the UK and Swiss governments.
The UltiMalVax kick-off meeting was successfully held on 20th June 2023 at the Qube Bahnstadt Hotel in Heidelberg, Germany. The meeting gathered 14 vaccine development experts to discuss the project objectives and activities. Special thanks to our partners for the very productive discussion.
Quick facts about UltiMalVax:
Project full name: A Vaccine Targeting Eradication of Malaria
Duration: 48 months
Funding agency: European Union, with co-funding from UK and Swiss governments
Budget: 8 million Euros (2.62 million euros from the EU)
Coordinator: European Vaccine Initiative (EVI)
Consortium: 12 partners (from 6 EU countries + UK+ Switzerland)
This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon Europe research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 101080928.
Funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or European Health and Digital Executive Agency (HADEA). Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.
Prof. Dr. Ole Olesen
European Vaccine Initiative (EVI) – Project Coordinator
Dr. Irene Nkumama
European Vaccine Initiative (EVI) – Malaria Programme manager
Global Malaria vaccines GMBH
GenIbet – Biopharmaceuticals SA
Vaccine Formulation Institute (CH) Ltd
Serum Institute of India Pvt. Ltd.
The Chancellor, Masters and Scholars of the University of Oxford