Tonix Pharmaceuticals, a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company, and the University of Alberta have forged a new research collaboration and exclusive licensing agreement to develop three novel horsepox-based vaccines for prevention of COVID-19.
The collaboration will develop three new potential vaccines to protect against COVID-19 based on the horsepox vector platform, but designed to express different SARS-CoV-2 antigens than TNX-1800, which is designed to express SARS-CoV-2 Spike protein.
“We are excited to expand our pipeline and look forward to developing three additional potential vaccines, TNX-1810, TNX-1820 and TNX-1830 to protect against COVID-19,” said Seth Lederman, Tonix’s President and CEO.
“We are delighted to extend our relationship with David Evans, Ph.D., FCAHS, Professor and former Vice-Dean (Research) Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry at the University of Alberta and principal investigator of the TNX-1810, TNX-1820 and TNX-1830 research project, and Ryan Noyce, Ph.D., Research Associate in Professor Evans’ laboratory at the University of Alberta.
“Drs Evans and Noyce synthesized horsepox, which is now our TNX-801 potential vaccine for smallpox and monkeypox. Horsepox is the vector system that is the backbone of the TNX-1800 vaccine that is designed to express the SARS-CoV-2 Spike protein, which Tonix is developing for the prevention of COVID-19 in collaboration with the Southern Research Institute.
“Horsepox is also the vector system for the new TNX-1810, TNX-1820 and TNX-1830 vaccines. TNX-801 is designed to elicit predominantly T cell responses, while the new vaccines are designed to elicit almost purely T cell responses.”
Dr. Evans said: “It is currently unknown what type of vaccine and which antigens from SARS-CoV-2 will provide effective protection from COVID-19. Orthopoxviruses like horsepox induce strong innate and adaptive immunity and long-lasting T-cell immunity.
“We have designed TNX-1810, TNX-1820 and TNX-1830 to express and induce immunity to SARS-CoV-2 proteins that are different from Spike.”
Under the terms of the research collaboration agreement, Tonix has been granted an exclusive license from the University of Alberta for technology and patents related to TNX-1810, TNX-1820 and TNX-1830.
Tonix will conduct further studies to test the safety and efficacy of TNX-1810, TNX-1820 and TNX-1830 in preventing COVID-19. TNX-1810, TNX-1820 and TNX-1830 are in the Pre-Investigational New Drug application stage of development.