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GeoVax and BravoVax (Wuhan, China) to Collaborate on Development of Coronavirus Vaccine

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ATLANTA, GA, and WUHAN, CHINA, Jan. 27, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- via NEWMEDIAWIRE -- GeoVax Labs, Inc. (OTC:GOVXD), a biotechnology company developing human immunotherapies and vaccines against infectious diseases and cancer, together with BravoVax, a vaccine developer in Wuhan, China, today announced the signing of a Letter of Intent to jointly develop a vaccine against the new coronavirus (known as 2019-nCoV).

Under the collaboration, GeoVax will use its MVA-VLP vaccine platform and expertise to design and construct the vaccine candidate using genetic sequences from the ongoing coronavirus outbreak originating in Wuhan, China. BravoVax will provide further development, including testing and manufacturing support, as well as direct interactions with Chinese public health and regulatory authorities.

David Dodd, GeoVax President & CEO, commented, "Serious infectious disease epidemics such as the current coronavirus outbreak require rapid and effective response in order to minimize the detrimental impact on populations at risk.  We are extremely pleased to begin working with BravoVax on this important and critical project, focused on minimizing the threat and impact of 2019-nCoV.  The GeoVax technology and expertise has previously demonstrated success in addressing various infectious disease threats, based upon our novel MVA-VLP platform and expertise. With BravoVax located at the epicenter of this outbreak and their respective expertise, we feel confident towards advancing our vaccine candidate into clinical development in a timely manner, providing a critical tool in addressing the new coronavirus threat. We look forward to further collaborations and support from US and other international public health entities joining in addressing the 2019-nCoV threat."

Wu Ke, BravoVax Founder & CEO, said: "As an established human vaccine developer, BravoVax is committed to utilizing its resources and network of connections within the Chinese virology, epidemiology, and regulatory communities to address this new threat to public health. Our physical location in Wuhan, essentially ‘Ground Zero' for the novel coronavirus outbreak, gives us even greater incentive to be a part of an effective solution.  We are excited by the opportunity to partner with GeoVax in leveraging their proven MVA-VLP vaccine platform to address this crisis. We look to collaborate closely with them in moving their vaccine candidate through pre-clinical and clinical testing in the most expeditious way possible in our aim to bring a safe and effective vaccine to those at risk for acquiring this infection."

GeoVax's Modified Vaccinia Ankara (MVA) platform technology is built on a 5th generation MVA vector system that is improved for high expression and stable transgenes during manufacture. Similar to its parent MVA, it has the advantage of being a live replication-competent vector in avian cells for manufacturing, yet replication-deficient in mammalian cells for vaccination, thus inherently safe. Importantly, MVA vaccines elicit protective T cell as well as antibody responses in animals and humans. The GeoVax MVA platform can be combined with the potent immunogenicity of Virus Like Particles (VLPs) (insertion of multiple antigens from each pathogen of interest conferring broad protection) or be used to express proteins in their native conformations, enabling construction of vaccine candidates that induce full protection after a single dose. Single dose protection is a favourable characteristic of preventive vaccines for emerging infectious disease outbreak response, given the speed of spread of pathogens and the impracticality of multi-dose regimens in the under-resourced settings where outbreaks often occurs. MVA-VLP vaccine candidates against various virus families (e.g. Ebola, Marburg, Lassa and Zika) induced strong antibody and T cell responses and demonstrated broad protections after single dose vaccinations against lethal challenges. 

About Coronavirus

Coronaviruses are common in many species of animals, including mammals, avians, and bats. In rare occasions, these viruses can evolve to cross the animal species and infect humans. They can quickly spread from person to person, resulting in lethal, yet rare, respiratory infections. Recent epidemics of SARS and MERS coronaviruses resulted in 774 and 858 deaths, respectively. Since 2015, there have not been any cases of SARS and MERS reported. But in January 2020, WHO identified a novel coronavirus, named 2019-nConV in Wuhan City of China. As of January 26, 2020, more than 2,000 people have been infected and at least 56 people have died as a result of the 2019-nCoV infections. To control the epidemic, China has implemented travel restrictions for more than 56 million people in the affected areas in at least 20 cities and has cancelled the mass Lunar New Year celebration in Beijing in an effort to control the spread of this deadly virus. On January 23, the Emergency Committee of the WHO advised that the current outbreak did not constitute a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC), but agreed on the urgency of the situation and suggested that the Committee should be reconvened in a matter of days to examine the situation further.

About BravoVax

BravoVax is a private, national-level biotechnology company specializing in the research and development of high-quality human vaccines. Based in Wuhan, China, BravoVax is currently in the preclinical stage of developing a pipeline that includes pneumococcal conjugate, respiratory syncytial virus, human papilloma virus, and varicella zoster vaccines.  Its in-house R&D staff and pilot-scale manufacturing site equipped with state-of-the-art instruments are well positioned to transition its vaccine pipeline to clinical testing. By leveraging its multiple technologies and vaccine platforms, BravoVax has established collaborations with the US National Institutes of Health (NIH), Johns Hopkins University (JHU), and other national and international organizations. BravoVax seeks to improve global health through development and provision of high-quality vaccines, while meeting both domestic and international regulatory standards.  For more information, visit www.bravovax.com

About GeoVax

GeoVax Labs, Inc. is a clinical-stage biotechnology company developing human vaccines against infectious diseases and cancer using a novel patented MVA-VLP based vaccine platform. On this platform, MVA, a large virus capable of carrying several vaccine antigens, expresses proteins that assemble into VLP immunogens within (in vivo) the person receiving the vaccine. The production of VLPs in the person being vaccinated mimics virus production in a natural infection, stimulating both the humoral and cellular arms of the immune system to recognize, prevent, and control the target infection. The MVA-VLP derived vaccines elicit durable immune responses in the host similar to a live-attenuated virus, while providing the safety characteristics of a replication-defective vector.

GeoVax's current development programs are focused on preventive vaccines against HIV, Zika, hemorrhagic fever viruses (Ebola, Sudan, Marburg, and Lassa), and malaria, as well as therapeutic vaccines against chronic Hepatitis B infections and multiple cancers. The Company has designed the leading preventative HIV vaccine candidate to fight against the subtype of HIV prevalent in the larger commercial markets of the Americas, Western Europe, Japan, and Australia; this program is currently undergoing human clinical trials managed by the HIV Vaccine Trials Network (HVTN) with the support of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).  GeoVax's HIV vaccine is also part of collaborative efforts to develop an immunotherapy as a functional cure for HIV.  For more information, visit www.geovax.com.

Forward-Looking Statements

Certain statements in this document are "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act. These statements are based on management's current expectations and are subject to uncertainty and changes in circumstances. Actual results may differ materially from those included in these statements due to a variety of factors, including whether:  GeoVax can develop and manufacture its vaccines with the desired characteristics in a timely manner, GeoVax's vaccines will be safe for human use, GeoVax's vaccines will effectively prevent targeted infections in humans, GeoVax's vaccines will receive regulatory approvals necessary to be licensed and marketed, GeoVax raises required capital to complete vaccine development, there is development of competitive products that may be more effective or easier to use than GeoVax's products, GeoVax will be able to enter into favorable manufacturing and distribution agreements, and other factors, over which GeoVax has no control. GeoVax assumes no obligation to update these forward-looking statements and does not intend to do so. More information about these factors is contained in GeoVax's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission including those set forth at "Risk Factors" in GeoVax's Form 10-K.

GeoVax Labs Inc.
678-384-7220
investor@geovax.com

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