Updated on 17 October 2013
Dr Jane Cardosa, co-founder & CSO, & Mr Peter Wulff, director & CEO, Sentinext Therapeutics, Malaysia.
Developing bivalent bivalent virus like particle (VLP) vaccine against hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) is a scientifically complex process, but once achieved it would result in a more efficacious and safer vaccine.
Targeting a billion dollar market, Sentinext Therapeutics, founded by Malaysian scientist Dr Jane Cardosa and Mr Peter Wulff, a seasoned biotechnology entrepreneur who has acumen to successfully launch start-up companies in Europe, has taken up the onus to develop a VLP-based vaccine that will protect against 95 percent of viruses causing HFMD in comparison to EV71 vaccines that give protection against only 65-75 percent of viruses.
Sentinext Therapeutics CSO Dr Jane Cardosa has worked extensively on tropical diseases and viruses such as EV71, dengue and viral encephalitis.
She was involved in designing and constructing virus-like particles for HFMD vaccines to trigger production of necessary antibodies to fight the viral infection.
Dr Cardosa explains that HFMD is an acute, highly contagious viral illness that mainly affects young children. Caused by human enteroviruses, single-stranded RNA viruses from the Picornaviridae family, the causative agents are spread by fecal-oral route transmission and affects susceptible children, mostly between the ages of six months and five years.
Many species A enteroviruses can cause HFMD, but large outbreaks have been most commonly associated with the serotypes Coxsackievirus A16 (CVA16) and the Enterovirus 71 (EV71). Approximately 65-70 percent of cases in South East Asia are currently caused by EV71 and 30-35 percent by CVA16.