New vaccine to prevent ear infections

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Dr. Terrence Stull’s company, called BacVax, is developing a vaccine to prevent ear infections in young children.

BacVax is a University of Arizona spinoff founded by Stull, former senior vice president of research at Phoenix Children’s Hospital.

BacVax uses molecular genetics to study Haemophilus influenzae, a common cause of ear infections. Stull moved his startup from the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix to the Phoenix Bioscience Core in July 2021, noting the building is a prime location to grow and expand.

How does BacVax work into the research and development of a vaccine to prevent ear infections among children?

Stull, who’s a pediatrician states that the most common type of infection among children that requires antibiotics is ear infection. When it comes to the generation of vaccines for ear infections, Stull says they are tough compared to the development of other vaccines.

“Event though you have lots of different kinds of bacteria in your mouth and nose, there are only two bacteria that now cause most ear infections,” said Stull.” And one of those, we’ve developed a vaccine that works quite well in all the preclinical models and so we’re working on the second bacteria now.”

How do they get the vaccines out to the market?

Stull says that the development of a vaccine usually work as a progressive pathway between clinical studies and regulatory approval. He makes a comparison with COVID-19, which was a very special case.

“The clinical studies were the same as all vaccines, but the regulatory went really fast.” said Stull. “In most vaccines you get this combination of clinical studies and they’re mixed with regulatory and then more clinical studies.”

“Development of a vaccine all the way to the market takes about ten years and about half a billion dollars, so we’re at the very beginning of this saga,” said Stull.

Dr. Terrence Stull, BacVax

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