Soligenix, Emergent Biosolutions extend development agreement for RiVax drug substance protein antigen

Soligenix Inc. recently extended its development agreement with Emergent Biosolutions to implement a commercially viable production technology for a vaccine candidate being developed to protect against ricin exposure called RiVax. 

Soligenix is a late-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on developing products to treat rare diseases where there is an unmet medical need. There are currently no effective treatments for ricin poisoning.

Ricin toxin is a plant toxin and potential biological weapon because of its stability, high potency and availability as a by-product of castor oil production.

The RiVax vaccine was developed through federal funds of up to $24.7 million from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. The contract between Emergent and Soligenix was also funded under the same contract.

The agreement will build upon previous work that will be performed at Emergent’s manufacturing facility in Baltimore, Maryland.

RiVax was developed in conjunction with a heat-stable biodefense vaccine called ThermoVax. RiVax, through rounds of preclinical models, has demonstrated both 100 percent protection from lethal ricin exposure and stability of up to one year at 40 degrees celsius. RiVax does not require cold chain shipment and storage.

“We are pleased to extend our agreement with Emergent BioSolutions as we expand our efforts to develop an effective, first-in-class vaccine against ricin toxin exposure in combination with our thermostabilization technology,” said Soligenix President and CEO Christopher J. Schaber.

“Collaborating with NIAID and Emergent is an important step in advancing the development of our ThermoVax technology platform. Soligenix intends to use this innovative technology to develop a heat stable ricin toxin vaccine that meets U.S. government requirements and advances a vaccine thermostabilization platform that may apply to other vaccines,” Schaber added.

RiVax will be further developed and would potentially be added to the Strategic National Stockpile and dispensed in the event of a terrorist attack, the company said.

Adam Havey, executive vice president and president, Biodefense Division at Emergent BioSolutions, said, “Emergent’s overarching focus on medical countermeasures that address public health threats complements the objectives of this program. We look forward to leveraging our contract manufacturing expertise and flexibility to help meet Soligenix’s needs.”



HPN News Desk

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