Pharmaceutical giant MSD will use Vaxxas’s syringe-free vaccination platform on an unnamed “vaccine candidate.”
Vaxxas will receive $US 12 million in equity funding and option fees under the deal announced on Friday. MSD has the option to license Vaxxas’s technology for two more products.
Vaxxas CEO David Hoey said MSD had a strong history of vaccine development and was an early adopter of Vaxxas’s technology. It had reached a collaborative agreement with the Queensland company in 2012.
“We are pleased with the progress seen to date in our collaboration with Vaxxas and look forward to advancing the first candidate towards clinical development,” said Daria Hazuda, chief scientific officer at MSD Exploratory Science Centre.
Separately, Vaxxas announced the establishment of an aseptic manufacturing line for production of products based on their HD-MAP technology by Harro Höfliger. Targeted throughput is 5 million vaccine products per week, with a goal to have the pilot line operating next year “to support late-stage clinical studies.”
Vaxxas is a University of Queensland spinout, formed in 2011 to commercialise a needle micro-array concept used to painlessly administer vaccines, developed by Professor Mark Kendall and his team.
According to Vaxxas, this takes advantage of the high amount of immune cells in skin, which means six times the response of antibodies for a given dose.
It recently received a $US 7.5 million grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The platform delivers dried vaccine, which does not require a cold chain to transport and store. Products are reportedly stable for up to a year at 40 degrees celsius and can be self-administered, and therefore are believed to offer great potential for impact in the developing world.
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