AlphaVax has announced that it has received a new threeyear, $3.6 million award from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), an agency of the Department of Health and Human Services.
The award supports advanced preclinical studies and manufacturing process development for new adjuvant technologies that are based on the company’s proprietary vector platform.
The key experimental observations forming the basis of these programs are that alphavirus RNA replicon vectors, when appropriately configured and delivered in virus-like replicon particles (VRP), can function as highly potent adjuvants for co-administered protein immunogens, such as influenza vaccines. When inoculated into animals, these RNA replicon-based adjuvants not only promote significant T cell responses to influenza proteins that are not seen in the absence of the adjuvants, but also induce greater than 10-fold-higher antibody responses.
In animals, a single inoculation of the combined VRP adjuvant and influenza vaccine can induce higher immune responses than two doses of the influenza vaccine alone. Thus, these adjuvants show significant potential as dose-sparing strategies for influenza vaccines which could be very useful in the event of a pandemic where vaccine could be in short supply.
“We are pleased to receive this new award”, said Jonathan Smith, Ph.D., AlphaVax Chief Scientific Officer and Principal Investigator for the new grant. “We developed these adjuvant technologies to enhance our vector-based vaccines, but were excited to find that they also significantly improved the immunogenicity of more conventional vaccine approaches”.
AlphaVax has several other active NIH grants supporting vaccine development for infectious diseases, biodefense, and tumor immunotherapy.