The U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) awarded a $1.5 million grant to Soligenix, Inc. last week to aid manufacture, formulation, and characterization of COVID-19 and ebola virus disease vaccine candidates.
All will be pursued in conjunction with the CoVaccine HT adjuvant, and the money will likewise support the adjuvant’s immune characterization. It has shown unique potency and the ability to enable thermostabilization in subunit vaccines, allowing vaccines to avoid the need for cold chain storage and shipping.
The company is working on a COVID-19 vaccine candidate known as CiVax. Heat stable, the candidate has also shown potential to produce a significant immune response.
“We are appreciative of the continued support provided by NIAID for our thermostabilization program,” Dr. Christopher Schaber, president and CEO of Soligenix, said. “This SBIR grant award will further advance our studies with the CoVaccine adjuvant, as well as our CiVax and filovirus vaccine programs. We remain dedicated to progressing our Public Health Solutions business segment and look forward to accelerating our CiVax program in particular with this funding.”
One of the major hindrances for vaccines is their ability to be transported and stored. Even among the first COVID-19 vaccines to be approved in the United States, significant logistical challenges may be seen due to cold chain requirements demanding cold temperatures to maintain stability. However, with the CoVaccine adjuvant platform, single vaccines are possible with stable temperatures of up to 104 degrees Fahrenheit.
With this grant funding, Soligenix will pursue detailed immunogenicity assessments of CoVaccine along with either the SARS-CoV-2 Spike protein antigen — for COVID-19 — or the Zaire ebolavirus glycoprotein antigen — for Ebola. Testing will be conducted on both mice and non-human primates.