Soligenix Announces Positive Preclinical Data with Multiple Heat Stable Filovirus Vaccine Candidates
- Category: Vaccines
- Published on Thursday, 19 August 2021 11:37
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- Potent efficacy data using purified antigens and CoVaccine HT™ adjuvant demonstrated in non-human primates (NHPs) published in Frontiers in Immunology
- Thermostabilized vaccine formulations have additionally shown efficacy in NHPs when combined in a single-vial platform presentation
- Thermostable vaccine platform may be an important contributor to addressing the next potential pandemic and developing "prototype" vaccines for future health emergencies
PRINCETON, NJ, USA I August 18, 2021 I Soligenix, Inc. (Nasdaq: SNGX) (Soligenix or the Company), a late-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on developing and commercializing products to treat rare diseases where there is an unmet medical need, announced today positive data demonstrating the efficacy of multiple filovirus vaccine candidates in NHPs, including thermostabilized multivalent vaccines in a single vial platform presentation. Collaborators at the at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa (UHM) describe the potent efficacy of vaccine candidates protecting against three life-threatening filoviruses, Zaire ebolavirus, Sudan ebolavirus and Marburg Marburgvirus in an article titled "Recombinant Protein Filovirus Vaccines Protect Cynomolgus Macaques from Ebola, Sudan, and Marburg Viruses", published in Frontiers in Immunology. These vaccine candidates contain highly purified protein antigens combined with the novel CoVaccine HT™ adjuvant, in both monovalent (single antigen) and bivalent (two antigen) formulations. Most recently, efforts to formulate all three antigens and adjuvant into a thermostable single-vial vaccine platform has also been shown to protect 75% of vaccinated NHPs against subsequent Sudan ebolavirus challenge, with further development to test efficacy against other filovirus infections ongoing.
"Filoviruses are endemic in areas of the world where the power supply can be uncertain, making a thermostable vaccine particularly valuable," stated Axel Lehrer, PhD, Associate Professor, Department of Tropical Medicine, Medical Microbiology and Pharmacology, John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM), UHM, "Our work to date has demonstrated not only the feasibility of rapid and efficient manufacturing, but also the applicability of thermostabilization of multiple antigens with the potential for a broadly applicable and easily distributed vaccine. Once developed, such a vaccine may be able to address emerging outbreaks, such as the Marburg virus infection that appeared in Guinea recently. We feel that this technology may be an important contribution to Dr. Fauci's proposed idea to develop prototype vaccines against the top 20 viral families that may also cause pandemics. Having such a platform available would likely enable broader and faster worldwide vaccination campaigns addressing future health emergencies. In addition, the ability to combine antigens in the formulation also enables generation of potentially broader protective vaccines."
"The continued advances in the filovirus program demonstrates the program's maturity and overall ability to successfully develop vaccines against these lethal viral threats," noted Oreola Donini, PhD, Senior Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer of Soligenix. "The compatibility with thermostabilization, and the identification of key stability indicating assays, are both hallmarks of a potentially broadly applicable vaccine platform. This most recent demonstration of protective efficacy against subsequent challenge continues to advance the overall platform, as well as the Sudan ebolavirus program specifically. Using this platform, we also continue to accelerate our joint COVID-19 vaccine effort, called CiVax™, with Dr. Lehrer and look forward to discussing further developments for both programs in the near future."
Under the Company's Public Health Solutions business segment, ongoing collaborations with Dr. Lehrer, as well as work conducted by Theodore Randolph, PhD, Professor, Center for Pharmaceutical Biotechnology, Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering at the University of Colorado, Boulder have demonstrated the feasibility of developing heat stable subunit protein vaccine formulations for filoviruses. The thermostabilized filovirus vaccine program is continuing to advance with the support of a National Institute of Health (NIH) grant R01-AI132323 (awarded to the University of Hawaii) and a Small Business Innovation Research grant (#1R44AI157593-01; awarded to Soligenix). Work to date has demonstrated the compatibility of lyophilizing both antigen and adjuvant in the same vial, with reconstitution with sterile water for injection immediately prior to use. This simple delivery format, as well as the compatibility with ambient storage, enables vaccines that significantly reduce the logistical hurdles that have been required for addressing the current pandemic or deployment of other Ebola virus vaccines in recent outbreaks in Central and West Africa.
About Filovirus Infection
Ebola Virus Disease is caused by one of six species of Ebolavirus, four of which are known to cause disease in humans, including its best-known member, Zaire ebolavirus (Ebola virus), and Sudan ebolavirus being the second-most common cause of human infection in this family. All species of ebolavirus belong to the Filoviridae family, a family that further contains the equally human pathogenic Marburg virus. Filoviruses are believed to be harbored in various animal species in Africa, particularly bats, although the specific reservoir host for many of these viruses is still unknown. There have been several known Ebola and Marburg Virus Disease outbreaks since 1967, with the largest outbreak starting in 2014 in Western Africa, and involved over 26,000 confirmed/probable/suspected cases with an estimated death toll of over 11,000 people according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). These numbers also include some cases of virus introduction and limited spread in Europe and the United States.
Transmission of filoviruses requires direct contact with bodily fluids from an infected person or contact with infected animals. The mortality rates following filovirus infections are extremely high, and, in the absence of wide availability of effective therapeutics, are affected by the quality of supportive care available with a focus on early initiation of treatment. Resolution of the disease largely depends on the patient's own immune system. There are limited treatment options for Ebola Virus Disease and no available treatments for Sudan Virus or Marburg Virus Disease, although steady progress has also been made in development of immunotherapeutics for filoviruses beyond Zaire ebolavirus. There are approved vaccines for Ebola virus (Zaire ebolavirus), both requiring stringent ultra-low cold-chain storage, but no efficacious vaccines are yet available for Marburg virus (Marburg marburgvirus) or Sudan virus (Sudan ebolavirus).
About John A. Burns School of Medicine, University of Hawai'i at Manoa
The University of Hawai'i at Manoa is one of the most ethnically diverse institutions of higher education. Hawai'i's cultural diversity and geographical setting affords the JABSOM a unique research environment to excel in health disparity research. JABSOM faculty bring external funding of about $40 million annually into Hawai'i.
About Soligenix, Inc.
Soligenix is a late-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on developing and commercializing products to treat rare diseases where there is an unmet medical need. Our Specialized BioTherapeutics business segment is developing and moving toward potential commercialization of HyBryte™ (SGX301 or synthetic hypericin) as a novel photodynamic therapy utilizing safe visible light for the treatment of cutaneous T-cell lymphoma (CTCL). With a successful Phase 3 study completed, regulatory approval is being sought and commercialization activities for this product candidate are being advanced initially in the U.S. Development programs in this business segment also include our first-in-class innate defense regulator (IDR) technology, dusquetide (SGX942) for the treatment of inflammatory diseases, including oral mucositis in head and neck cancer, and proprietary formulations of oral beclomethasone 17,21-dipropionate (BDP) for the prevention/treatment of gastrointestinal (GI) disorders characterized by severe inflammation including pediatric Crohn's disease (SGX203) and acute radiation enteritis (SGX201).
Our Public Health Solutions business segment includes active development programs for RiVax®, our ricin toxin vaccine candidate, and SGX943, our therapeutic candidate for antibiotic resistant and emerging infectious disease, and our vaccine programs targeting filoviruses (such as Marburg and Ebola) and CiVax™, our vaccine candidate for the prevention of COVID-19 (caused by SARS-CoV-2). The development of our vaccine programs incorporates the use of our proprietary heat stabilization platform technology, known as ThermoVax®. To date, this business segment has been supported with government grant and contract funding from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) and the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA).