View the presentation (pdf)
Soligenix’s proprietary thermostability technology, ThermoVax®, is a novel method of rendering aluminum salt, Alum, adjuvanted vaccines stable at elevated temperatures. Alum is the most widely employed adjuvant technology in the vaccine industry. The value of ThermoVax® lies in its potential ability to eliminate the need for cold-chain production, transportation, and storage for Alum adjuvanted vaccines. This would relieve companies of the high costs of producing and maintaining vaccines under refrigerated conditions. The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that 50% of all vaccines around the world are wasted due to thermostability issues. This is due to the fact that most Alum adjuvanted vaccines need to be maintained at between 2 and 8 degrees Celsius (“C”) and even brief excursions from this temperature range (especially below freezing) usually necessitates the destruction of the product or the initiation of costly stability programs specific for the vaccine lots in question. The savings realized from the elimination of cold chain costs and related product losses would in turn significantly increase the profitability of vaccine products. Elimination of the cold chain would also further facilitate the use of these vaccines in the lesser developed parts of the world. On the Vaccines/BioDefense side, ThermoVax® has the potential to facilitate easier storage and distribution of strategic national stockpile vaccines in emergency settings.
Proof-of-concept preclinical studies with ThermoVax® indicate that it is able to produce stable vaccine formulations using adjuvants, protein immunogens, and other components that ordinarily would not withstand long temperature variations exceeding customary refrigerated storage conditions. These studies were conducted with Soligenix’s aluminum-adjuvanted ricin toxin vaccine, RiVax®, made under precise lyophilization conditions using excipients that aid in maintaining native protein structure of the ricin A chain, the immunogenic compound of the vaccine. When RiVax® was kept at 40 degrees C for one year, all of the animals vaccinated with the lyophilized RiVax® vaccine developed potent and high titer neutralizing antibodies. In contrast, animals that were vaccinated with the liquid RiVax® vaccine kept at 40 degrees C did not develop neutralizing antibodies and were not protected against ricin exposure. The ricin A chain is extremely sensitive to temperature and rapidly loses the ability to induce neutralizing antibodies when exposed to temperatures higher than 8 degrees C.
Near term progress with ThermoVax® will allow Soligenix to seek out potential partnerships with companies marketing FDA/ex-U.S. health authority approved Alum adjuvanted vaccines and/or developing Alum adjuvanted vaccines that are interested in eliminating the need for cold chain for their products. ThermoVax® will further enable Soligenix to expand its vaccine development expertise beyond biodefense into the infectious disease space and also has the potential to allow for the development of multivalent vaccines (e.g., combination ricin-anthrax vaccine).
ThermoVax® intellectual property is licensed to Soligenix by the University of Colorado and covers thermostable vaccines for biodefense as well as other potential vaccine indications.
Read a recent poster describing the use of ThermoVax to stabilize an ebola subunit vaccine.