GlaxoSmithKline and US biopharma VBI Vaccines have joined forces in a research pact focused on improving vaccine stability.

The deal gives the drug giant access to VBI’s LPV platform, a proprietary formulation and process that encloses and protects the active component of a vaccine (or biologic), thus improving its stability and preserving its potency.

Many vaccines are very sensitive to temperature and stress, and the vast majority must be stored between 4° C and 8° C to preserve integrity. Failure to do so could affect the potency of the vaccine and thus limit its protective effects. 

As VBI points out, reliance on a cold chain increases vaccine costs by up to 20% and represents a significant barrier to patient access across emerging markets. It also brings added challenges of having to investigate any potential lapses in the supply chain before the vaccine is administered, particularly in very poor or remote regions. 

The firm is hoping that its platform could offer a means for combatting this issue. The LPV platform has demonstrated potency in multiple preclinical animal models, it said, showing efficacy in mice and ferrets with aged vaccine formulations stored at 4° C and 40° C for up to one year.

Under the terms of the deal, GSK has the option to negotiate an exclusive license to VBI's LPV Platform for use in a defined field. Further terms were not disclosed.