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Tuesday, 19 March 2013
Soligenix sees more progress for ThermoVax vaccine technology
Soligenix (OTCQB:SNGX) says that several preclinical studies have shown that vaccines formulated with its ThermoVax technology have the potential for high temperature stability seen for a minimum of six months and increased potency.
The studies, said the company in a statement Tuesday, were conducted with Soligenix's proprietary ricin toxin vaccine, known as RiVax, and its anthrax vaccine, known as VeloThrax. The program was designed to see if the vaccines could withstand extreme temperatures and other environmental stress conditions.
Shares of the company rose more than 3.7 percent this morning to $1.40.
The company is researching the ThermoVax technology with a $9.4 million grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease for biodefense vaccines to prevent ricin toxin and anthrax exposure.
ThermoVax is being developed to eliminate the standard cold chain production, distribution and storage logistics required for most vaccines. Indeed, when using ThermoVax in the final formulation of vaccines, the results have shown that it is possible for the vaccines to withstand temperatures at least as high as 40 degrees Celsius for a minimum of six months, while also not sacrificing their potency and stability, the company said.
Recent results, it added, also show that VeloThrax, when formulated with ThermoVax, retained full potency in animals and showed "full structural integrity" when exposed to temperatures as high as 70 degrees Celsius.
"We are pleased with the progress demonstrated thus far with our vaccines that employ ThermoVax," said the company in a statement on Tuesday, citing president and CEO, Christopher J. Schaber.
"The ability to engineer vaccines that are able to withstand extreme temperatures and thereby eliminate the cold chain while simultaneously reducing the frequency of vaccinations has the potential to be a significant step forward in vaccine technology."
The chief said that beyond its biodefense applications, ThermoVax has the potential to lead to "major cost savings" in the production, distribution and storage of currently marketed vaccines, and could further facilitate their use in the developing world.
Soligenix says it has recently initiated discussions with "a number" of vaccine companies and non-profit organizations regarding the potential for collaboration on heat-stable versions of their vaccine candidates.
Cold chain requirements add considerable cost to the production and storage of conventional vaccines, with the company citing that 98 percent of all vaccines require shipment through cold chain, according to the Biopharma Cold Chain Sourcebook of 2010.
The World Health Organization also reports that 50 percent of all global vaccine doses are wasted because vaccines are not kept within required temperature ranges.
For vaccines that are intended for long-term stockpiling, such as for use in biodefense or in pandemic situations, the use of ThermoVax can lead to easier storage and the distribution of strategic national stockpile vaccines in emergency situations.
The New Jersey-based company focuses on drugs for cancer-supportive care, gastrointestinal disease, and biodefense, and has seen its stock triple in the last six months as investors become more bullish on its developing assets.
Its lead compound, SGX942, is projected to enter phase 2 for oral mucositis in head and neck cancer in the second half of this year, with results anticipated in the second half of 2014. Mucositis is the clinical term for damage done to the mucosa by anti-cancer therapies like radiation and chemotherapy.