Clinical-stage biotechnology company Vaxxas has announced it will receive $5.4 million from the global charitable foundation Wellcome to conduct initial studies and a Phase I clinical trial for a potential second-generation typhoid vaccine.
The vaccine is being developed using a needle-free vaccine patch based on Vaxxas’ proprietary high-density microarray patch (HD-MAP) platform technology. The company said the project is expected to be completed within two years.
The typhoid vaccine formulation used to coat the HD-MAP will be based on an approved typhoid conjugate vaccine jointly developed by Vaxxas’ collaborator in this project, SK bioscience, and the International Vaccine Institute.
The typhoid vaccine candidate used in these studies will be formulated to be stable at higher temperatures than required for needle and syringe vaccination.
Vaxxas said improved thermostability of vaccine products is a key potential benefit offered by its HD-MAP platform. It has the potential to reduce the cost and complexity of cold-chain distribution and storage, which are both significant barriers to vaccine accessibility in lower- and middle-income countries.
The HD-MAP also has the potential benefit of requiring less training to administer and self-administration.
“To help protect more people at risk from deadly diseases like typhoid fever, new vaccine innovations are needed to improve access and ensure equitable coverage,” said Wellcome senior research manager Pierre Balard. “Vaxxas’ HD-MAP is an important step in this direction. With the potential to overcome some of the most enduring barriers to vaccine access in lower income countries, this product could be a vital addition to our global toolkit.”
"We are excited to be initiating this important work with Wellcome and SK bioscience to leverage our HD-MAP vaccine platform to potentially enhance typhoid vaccination," said Vaxxas CEO David Hoey. "We believe our HD-MAP has the potential to play a critical role in extending the global reach of typhoid conjugate vaccines, and make a significant difference to the lives of many."