| briandeer.com | AIDS VACCINE FAILURE

VaxGen's AidsVax: "missing years" after Genentech abandoned vaccine technology

The failure of AidsVax to prevent infection with HIV - in clinical trial results published in 2003 - triggered an intense debate about the controversial product and its manufacturer, VaxGen Inc of Brisbane, California. Mail to this website, maintained by Brian Deer, shows that existing material on a VaxGen-AidsVax index is read by significant numbers. This page seeks to further inform the discussion

In January 2003 - the month before VaxGen announced the failure of its phase III clinical trial of AidsVax - the company published a 10-page "editorial review" in the journal Aids. (Aids, 2003, 17:147-156) More here on this.

The review contained the following chart, which reveals a three-year break in the timeline between the period when Genentech Inc of South San Francisco developed and tested the technology, and VaxGen acquired it. Although elsewhere VaxGen frequently describs itself as a "spin-off" from Genentech, the paper does not explain this apparent anomaly.

Interestingly, perhaps, the only event marked in the "missing years" gap (and somewhat to the right) is "Chimps protected (MN)". The work in question was initially presented in public at a conference in October 1994, submitted for publication in April 1995 and published in the Journal of Infectious Diseases in 1996 (Berman et al, 173:52-9). Ten of the fifteen authors of the paper are described in a note on the paper as "employees and shareholders of Genentech Inc" and an eleventh is Donald P Francis. It is unlikely that any implications in this work were unknown to Genentech when it abandoned research on the AidsVax technology.

Go to the VaxGen - AidsVax index