Vaxart shows positive pre-clinical data for oral COVID-19 vaccine

Vaxart, a clinical-stage biotechnology organisation developing oral recombinant vaccines delivered via tablet rather than an injection, reported on April 21 that it has achieved promising pre-clinical findings for its COVID-19 vaccine candidates. Some of the vaccine candidates induced immune responses after a single dose in all studied animals.

Vaxart’s oral vaccine candidates generate COVID-19 antibodies in all tested animals

Sean Tucker, Ph.D., Chief Scientific officer at Vaxart said:

“These early pre-clinical results are in line with those for our oral influenza vaccine which was protective in a clinical Phase 2 efficacy study.”
“Additional data will inform us on which candidate we will move forward into clinical trials. We are particularly interested in vaccine candidates that can generate mucosal immune responses in addition to serum antibody responses. That is a key feature of our oral vaccines and potentially significant for protection against SARS CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.”

Vaxart’s project launched in January 2020 to create a COVID-19 vaccine is based on the oral vaccine technology VAASTTM. In its pre-clinical models the biotech is currently evaluating numerous vaccine candidates. All animals who received one of the Vaxart vaccines in this first round of preclinical studies had generated serum IgG anti-SARS CoV-2 antibodies two weeks after the first injection.

Antibody results were statistically important in all vaccinated classes compared with the untreated groups. Vaxart aims to choose one or more vaccine candidates for cGMP production and clinical trials based on immune response magnitude and duration.

Manufacturing prep for the oral COVID-19 vaccine

Vaxart’s vaccines are delivered using a compact tablet that is consistent at room temperature instead of injection. Vaxart claims tablet vaccines are quicker to supply and administer than injectable vaccines and have the ability to boost vaccination rates dramatically.

On 18 March 2020, Vaxart entered into a development services arrangement with Emergent BioSolutions Inc. (“Emergent”) to prepare for manufacturing for cGMT an oral COVID-19 vaccine.

The first stage of the partnership is underway and, if Vaxart considers continuing with the manufacture of cGMP, Emergent is anticipated to manufacture bulk cGMP vaccine in time to enable the start of a Phase 1 clinical trial in the second half of 2020.

“These results are extremely encouraging, and we should be in a position to select a lead development candidate for cGMP manufacturing and clinical testing in the coming weeks.”
“Our oral vaccines have been shown to protect against respiratory infection based on mucosal immunity, the first line of defense for such infections, as recently published in the Lancet Infectious Diseases. This could be important for an effective vaccine that protects the global population from COVID-19. In addition, the Vaxart vaccine would be administered orally using a room temperature-stable tablet, an enormous logistical advantage over injectables in large vaccination campaigns.”

More about Vaxart

Vaxart is a clinical-stage biotechnology company focusing mainly on developing oral recombinant protein vaccines based on its patented oral vaccine technology. Vaxart’s vaccines are engineered to produce complex and long-lasting immune responses that defend against a wide variety of infectious diseases and also can be effective for chronic viral infections and cancer treatment.

Vaxart’s engineering projects include oral tablet vaccines created to protect against coronavirus, norovirus, seasonal influenza and respiratory syncytial virus (“RSV”), and human papillomavirus (“HPV”).

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