Posted: 2012-10-17 in Press Releases
Vaxxas Initiates Program With Merck to Optimize Delivery of Next Generation Vaccines Utilizing Novel Mechanism for Immune System Activation
Collaboration to Evaluate, Develop and Commercialize Vaxxas’ Innovative Nanopatch™ Vaccine Delivery Platform
CAMBRIDGE, MA – October 9, 2012 – Vaxxas, a biotechnology company commercializing a novel vaccine delivery platform, today announced the initiation of a research collaboration with Merck, known as MSD outside the United States and Canada. The collaboration will evaluate Vaxxas’ proprietary Nanopatch™ platform that induces robust immune system activation by targeting vaccine to the abundant immunological cells immediately below the surface of the skin. In addition, Vaxxas has granted Merck an exclusive license for the Nanopatch platform for commercial production of an undisclosed vaccine candidate.
Under the agreement, Merck will pay an upfront fee and will provide funding to Vaxxas to conduct research evaluating the potential of using Vaxxas’ Nanopatch platform for a Merck vaccine candidate. Vaxxas will be eligible to receive additional payments associated with Merck exercising its option to the Nanopatch platform for the development and commercialization of vaccine candidates for up to two additional fields. Vaxxas will also be eligible to receive payments upon achievement of development milestones and regulatory approvals by any Merck vaccine candidate that uses the Nanopatch platform as well as royalties on sales of such Merck vaccine products.
“We are pleased to collaborate with Merck, a recognized global leader in vaccines, to apply our technology with their expertise in vaccines research,” said David L. Hoey, CEO of Vaxxas. “This collaboration underscores the potential of our Nanopatch platform to effectively deliver advanced vaccines and supports our strategic approach of partnering with leaders in vaccine development.”
About the Nanopatch™ Technology Platform
The Nanopatch™ technology platform is a novel approach to improve performance of existing vaccines and to create new advanced vaccines designed to achieve greater efficacy and safety. Application of the Nanopatch to the skin is a pain-free method of vaccine delivery and has been shown in preclinical studies to result in a protective immunogenic response, using as little as one hundredth of the dose required by conventional needle and syringe. The robust immune response inherent to Nanopatch-delivered vaccines may also enable reduction or elimination of additives such as adjuvants. In addition, proprietary dry-coating of vaccine to the Nanopatch may eliminate the need for refrigeration during storage and transportation.
Vaxxas is a privately-held biotechnology company focused on enhancing the performance of existing and next generation vaccines with its proprietary Nanopatch™ technology platform. Vaxxas’ Nanopatch contains an ultra-high density array of projections – invisible to the naked human eye – that are dry-coated with vaccine. Application of the Nanopatch to the skin is pain free and rapidly delivers the vaccine to the abundant immune cell population immediately below the skin surface. In a wide range of preclinical studies Nanopatch delivery of vaccine achieves equivalent protective immunity as the needle and syringe – but with only one hundredth (1/100th) of the dose. It has also been shown that Vaxxas’ proprietary dry-coating technology can eliminate the need for vaccine refrigeration during storage and transportation – removing the resource burden of maintaining the “cold chain”. Leveraging both the potent immunogenic response and thermostability, Vaxxas is applying its technology to improve the performance of vaccines, with initial applications targeting infectious disease and oncology.
Vaxxas’ Nanopatch technology originated from Professor Mark Kendall's research group at the Australian Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology at The University of Queensland, the Australian university. The University of Queensland’s main commercialization company, UniQuest, led the initial commercialization of the Nanopatch technology prior to the creation of Vaxxas in 2011. Vaxxas is backed by a strong group of venture investors including OneVentures, Brandon Capital, Healthcare Ventures, and the Medical Research Commercialisation Fund.
The company is initially focused on partnering with leading vaccine companies who are seeking a needle-free, differentiated, high performance, cost effective and safe vaccine delivery platform. For more information, please visit www.vaxxas.com .