UK group Enesi Pharma has signed a deal with Australian biotech Sementis to develop solid dose versions of the latter’s lead peanut hypoallergy vaccine and its chikungunya/Zika vaccine candidates.
The vaccines are being evaluated for administration via Enesi Pharma’s ImplaVax technology, a needle-free solid dose implant and device technology for subcutaneous vaccination.
Sementis’ investigational peanut hypoallergy vaccine has completed proof-of-concept studies, “providing compelling evidence that it offers the possibility of a permanent cure for peanut allergy,” according to the groups’ press release.
More than seven million individuals across the US, Europe and Japan are thought to suffer with serious peanut allergy; an ImplaVax-enabled vaccine could provide “a simple and effective means to address peanut allergy on a large scale, particularly for younger sufferers who may have an aversion to needles and traditional injections”.
Sementis’ single vectored vaccine for chikungunya/Zika virus infection has also shown promise in proof-of-concept studies in mice.
“An ImplaVax-enabled product using the Sementis SCV chikungunya/Zika vaccine offers the potential to provide long-lasting immunity and retain potency across a wide range of storage conditions for prolonged periods,” the firms noted.
“The collaboration to develop a solid dose version of these vaccines for use with our ImplaVax needle-free device offers the potential to deliver a robust and effective product addressing significant global health challenges,” said David Hipkiss, Enesi’s chief executive.
“We are seeing increasing interest from all areas of the vaccine and public health industries based on the potential benefits that ImplaVax could provide to improve vaccination.”
“We are very confident that the ImplaVax technology will work extremely well with our vaccine vector technology to reduce, or even eliminate, the reliance on maintaining a cold-chain environment from manufacture to point-of-care, and possibly providing long-term stability to our vaccines,” added Enesi’s chief executive Dr Paul Howley.
“Also, Enesi’s technology may eliminate the need for highly trained healthcare workers to administer our vaccine as no injection is required. We will be evaluating this technology with one of our infectious disease vaccines and one of our hypoallergy vaccine candidates and if proven to expectations the ImplaVax technology will be applicable to all of Sementis vaccines covering infectious disease, allergies and cancers.”
Under the terms of the deal, Enesi will formulate solid dose implants based on vaccines provided by Sementis, while Sementis will undertake safety and immunogenicity testing, and preclinical development.
Financial details were not disclosed.