PaxVax plans to bring its candidate to animal trials during the first half of this year, CEO Nima Farzan told FierceVaccines.
Farzan said, governments and nongovernmental organizations like the WHO should create economic incentives for companies to make vaccines for neglected diseases like Zika. Farzan pointed to the FDA's priority review voucher system, in which a company developing a vaccine for a neglected tropical disease receives a transferable voucher for expedited FDA review. Malaria and dengue have been on the list of neglected diseases for years, but Zika is not yet on the list.
Government stockpiles and reimbursed R&D are other ways to help vaccine makers develop product, Farzan said. But funding from NIH grants and the like usually goes toward early-stage development, with not as much funding for the expensive part: actually manufacturing a candidate and getting it through late-stage trials and to market.