UK biotech, Enesi Pharma, has partnered with the University of Adelaide to develop a new thermostable, solid dose DNA vaccine for Zika virus to prevent infection of pregnant women and the resultant congenital effects in the unborn child.
This project aims to employ Enesi’s ImplaVax formulation expertise and platform to create a protective Zika virus DNA vaccine in a solid dose implant format for transcutaneous delivery via a needle-free device.
The innovative combination of this ImplaVax formulation and delivery system with the novel DNA vaccine construct developed by researchers at the University of Adelaide is expected to enhance the vaccine’s efficacy, thermal stability and allow for safe and rapid vaccination of target populations that are otherwise geographically and economically disadvantaged.
The new AUD1.35 million collaboration with the University of Adelaide aims to advance the development of a novel thermostable, solid dose Zika virus DNA vaccine to Phase 1 clinical trials.
The programme is being funded with AUD675,500 from the Australian Government’s Biomedical Translation Bridge (BTB) programme, and additional funding from Enesi Pharma, The Hospital Research Foundation, Adelaide Enterprise Commercial Accelerator Scheme and the University of Adelaide’s Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences.
“… it is recognised that DNA and RNA vaccines have significant cold chain requirements, which could impact the efficiency and reach of final products,” said Enesi Pharma CEO, David Hipkiss.
“We believe that our ImplaVax technology could provide a solution to overcome these barriers. This belief is based upon our earlier work which has evidenced the ability for ImplaVax-enabled DNA vaccine candidates to be thermally stable and retain their immunogenicity potential.
“A positive outcome from our new collaboration, alongside other projects evaluating ImplaVax-enabled DNA and RNA vaccines, could help unlock the full potential of such approaches across a vast range of diseases, from Zika to COVID-19.”