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Biotech Receives Attention with HIV Vaccine

Written By Brian Hicks

Posted November 26, 2012

GeoVax Labs (PINK: GOVX) is a tiny outfit—just 13 employees—but it will be laying out a critical clinical trial in 2014 where some 2,000 people will undergo vaccinations designed to test the viability of an in-development vaccine against HIV/AIDS.

The trial will be extensive—it’ll run for 3 years—and a good outcome doesn’t mean immediate commercialization. But it would increase the investor attention that GeoVax is already receiving and bring in much-needed support and funding, as CEO Robert McNally said.

GeoVax began out of Emory University’s vaccine lab, with work by Harriet Robinson—currently GeoVax’s Chief Scientific Officer.

A preventative vaccine for HIV/AIDS is estimated to have a market worth nearly $4 billion per year. HIV affects roughly 34 million people today, and some 58,000 people in the U.S. contract HIV every year. Worldwide, the number of new infections hovers around 3 million each year.

Clearly, GeoVax is onto something big here.

From the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

“Everybody thinks it’s under control,” said president and CEO Robert McNally. That’s because existing drugs can allow people who are HIV-positive to live nearly normal lifespans. But the oral medications are expensive and can have unpleasant side effects, and not all patients take them consistently.

So far, GeoVax is doing well for itself. The National Institute of Health has granted it $50 million in funding, and $15 million has come in from investors. Emory University has put in $750,000 and owns 28 percent of the company.

GeoVax, which trades on the OTC market, was up 5.26% on Monday.