Advanced Medical Research Institute of Canada; Sudbury, ON Canada.
Hepatitis B (HBV) virus infects the liver, and upon chronic infection, can cause liver cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma. Despite universal vaccination programs against the virus, HBV still affects over 2 billion people worldwide, with over 240 million developing a chronic infection. While current alum-adjuvanted vaccines have shown efficacy in promoting seroprotection in healthy adults, 5-10% of immune-competent populations fail to achieve long-lasting seroprotection from these formulations. Furthermore, a large proportion of immunocompromised patients fail to achieve seroprotective antibody titers after receiving these vaccines. A novel vaccine candidate, HEPLISAV™, uses immunostimulatory sequences (ISS), in their formulation that helps induce a robust humoral and cell mediated immunity against HBV. In Phase III clinical trials, HEPLISAV™ has been shown to elicit seroprotective antibody titers with fewer immunizations. Similar safety profiles are demonstrated when compared with current HBV vaccines. For these reasons, HEPLISAV™ is an attractive vaccine to combat this global disease.