Singapore’s Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*Star) and Switzerland’s Cytos Biotechnology say that the first healthy volunteer has been dosed in a Phase I trial with their H1N1 influenza vaccine candidate.

The companies entered into a collaboration in 2010, with the goal of providing the government of Singapore an effective means of combatting influenza epidemics and pandemics. Cytos retains worldwide rights to develop and sell the vaccine candidate globally, while A*Star will commercialise the product for Singapore and other Association of Southeast Asian Nations members and can get royalties on worldwide sales.

Lim Chuan Poh, A*Star's chairman, said that in the wake of the recent H7N9 bird flu outbreak, it is timely that the agency is bringing Singapore’s first H1N1 flu vaccine into Phase I. He added that "this different approach of making flu vaccines will better respond to the needs of a flu outbreak", saying that the collaboration with Cytos "is making a meaningful contribution to Singapore’s pandemic readiness, a critical aspect of our national security".

Cytos chief executive Christian Itin said that "this is an important milestone for the programme" and the first clinical programme using the Swiss firm's "B-cell vaccine platform for a prophylactic vaccine against an infectious disease".