A Brisbane biotech that makes needle free vaccine delivery patches has been tapped by a global charity to help fight typhoid, the life-threatening disease that infects millions of people every year.
Vaxxas will conduct clinical studies and a trial of a typhoid vaccine delivered through its needle-free vaccine patch technology platform after receiving $5.4 million from global charitable foundation Wellcome.
The Queensland firm opened its local biomedical manufacturing facility in June after state and federal governments had chipped in funding to head off a move to the US.
The state of the art facility is expected to be producing Vaxxas patches at scale within five years.
The new clinical trial of its product with Wellcome will use an approved typhoid vaccination formula that has been formulated to be stable at higher temperatures than required for needle and syringe vaccination.
By removing needles, Vaxxas says it can deliver vaccinations with less dosage, at higher temperatures without a complex cold chain, and with a less invasive procedure, including self-administration.
The needle-free platform could be critical for immunising against typhoid, which thrives in communities that lack access to safe drinking water or adequate sanitation.
Typhoid can be treated with antibiotics but resistance to different types is increasing, making the treatment more complicated.
The World Health Organization has prequalified two injectable vaccines for long lasting immunity to typhoid, which infects around nine million people, killing 110,000, each year.
The typhoid vaccine used in Vaxxas trials will be based on an approved typhoid conjugate vaccine that was jointly developed by the Brisbane company, Korean vaccine company SK bioscience and the International Vaccine Institute.
According to Vaxxas, the vaccine has shown in early clinical trials that it provides acceptable immunogenicity and long-term preventive effects with a single-dose administration and can be administered to infants six months to two years of age.
The company expects the vaccine will obtain prequalification from the world Health Organisation later this year.
The vaccine will coat the Australian company’s proprietary high-density microarray patch (HD-MAP).
“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,” Vaxxas chief executive David Hoey said.
The company secured $34 million through a capital raise in December – its first funding round for eight years. It had previously raised around $100 million in equity funding, and more than $100 million in non-dilutive financial support, according to the Australian Financial Review.
The company has also been supported by state and federal government investments, research grants and by the Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre.
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