A beacon of light on vaccine discovery

Pharos Biologicals is a development-stage company focused on the preclinical to Phase 1 clinical design and evaluation of advanced DNA vaccines and vaccine delivery technologies for prevention of flavivirus and influenza virus infections.

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The Zika Epidemic

*Global map of the predicted distribution of Aedes aegypti, one of the types of mosquitoes that spread Zika. Credit: Elife Sciences.org

Although humans fear attacks by sharks, lions and snakes, on average human deaths from these creatures account for 10,000 to 50,000 deaths annually. The tiny mosquito, by contrast, accounts for 475,000 deaths a year, primarily through malaria.

Mosquitoes, specifically Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus, also carry a variety of viruses of the genus Flaviviridae that include dengue, yellow fever, West Nile, and Zika viruses, among about 70 others. Originally confined to Africa and Asia, these mosquitoes have now spread to tropical and subtropical areas throughout the globe, including regions in the United States.

In recent years, accompanying the spread of the mosquitoes, there have been alarming outbreaks of dengue fever in Singapore, Indonesia, Japan, and Hawaii -- places where dengue, while a public health issue for many years in Asia, was previously not a major threat. In addition, and more troubling, there was an outbreak of Zika infection in Brazil in late 2015, accompanied by a remarkable increase in the incidence of microcephaly, a severe deformation of the skull in newborn children accompanied by possible mental retardation, vision problems, and Guillan-Barre Syndrome paralysis. In Brazil alone there was an increase of microcephaly cases to about 4,000 by year end. There are now reports of Zika transmission to humans in a number of other countries in Central- and South America and the Caribbean, and of Zika-infected travelers carrying Zika to the U.S. and Europe. There also have been reports of sexual transmission of Zika in the United States and elsewhere, an occurrence unknown to other flaviviruses, and a concern that Zika may reside in an infected person, unrecognized, for many years.

The Pan American Health Organization predicts that active Zika virus transmission will eventually spread to every country in the Western Hemisphere where the Aedes aegypti mosquito is found, excluding only Canada and continental Chile.

On February 1, 2016 the World Health Organization (WHO)
declared Zika to be a global health crisis.

Our Team

Josh Thompson

David W. Wise

Chief Executive Officer
John Doe

J. Thomas August, MD

Founder + Chief Science Officer
Mary Jane

Hai-Quan Mao, Ph.D.

Lead Scientist, Vaccine Delivery Systems

Pharos in the News

For press inquiries contact:
Trina Leonard | tleonard@pharosbiologicals.com | 301.351.2336


Pharos listed among leaders in Zika vaccine development

Less than 6 months after Zika infection was declared a public health emergency, the first clinical trials of DNA vaccines against the virus are beginning.


Immunomic Therapeutics Signs $300 Million Agreement to Develop DNA Vaccine Based on Johns Hopkins Technology

University will receive portion of $300M upfront payment to Immunomic Therapeutics as part of licensing agreement


Pharos Biologicals Conducting Tests of a Novel Zika Vaccine

New vaccine research firm expects to start Phase 1 trials in fall 2016.


Johns Hopkins scientist to test Zika vaccine

ABC 2 News interviews Dr. J. Thomas August.

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