There is no licensed vaccine for Group A Streptococcus, which is commonly associated with mild illnesses such as strep throat, but can cause life-threatening disease, including toxic shock syndrome and necrotizing fasciitis. In an effort to change that, Memphis, TN-based Vaxent and the University of Saskatchewan’s Pan-Provincial Vaccine Enterprise (PREVENT) are kicking off Phase I trials for StreptAnova.

The trial will take place at the Canadian center for Vaccinology in Halifax, Nova Scotia, the Memphis Business Journal reports. It will involve 45 healthy adults, who will receive three doses of the vaccine over 6 months. The volunteers will have a follow-up a year after vaccination to assess immune response.

The vaccine was developed by Dr. James Dale at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center and is being commercialized by PREVENT and Vaxent. The Phase I trial was announced in August.

“The safety and immunogenicity results from these studies will add to the growing body of clinical data from previous human studies of similar vaccines developed in our laboratories. With positive results, clinical development will move to examine the safety and immune response in adolescents and pre-school children, the ultimate target age for the vaccine,” Dale said in a University of Tennessee statement.

Annually, Group A Streptococcus causes 616 million cases of pharyngitis worldwide, according to the statement. And in the U.S., invasive Group A streptococcal disease causes 1,850 deaths each year.

Australia’s Griffith University’s Institute for Glycomics announced in June that it had developed a combination vaccine that could work against Strep A infections. Human trials are slated to begin in 2016.

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