The US Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) will use Enesi Pharma’s ImplaVax device and formulation technology to develop subcutaneous vaccines against influenza.
The public-private collaboration, financials of which have not been divulged, will form part of BARDA’s Division of Research, Innovation, and Ventures (DRIVe) innovative health security technologies portfolio, and looks to provide a cost-effective alternative to traditional vaccines to help improve vaccination uptake.
The aim is to help healthcare providers or individuals administer influenza vaccines through the use of Enesi’s needle-free Implavax device, which delivers a solid dose vaccine under the skin.
“The ImplaVax system is made of a re-usable actuator – a handheld implant device – and a single use cassette pre-loaded with a solid dose vaccine implant, smaller than a grain of rice,” David Hipkiss, CEO of Enesi Pharma, told Bioprocess Insider.
“The implant is delivered approximately 2mm below the surface of the skin and then completely dissolves to deliver the exact vaccine dose needed, eliminating dosing errors and the need to mix and shoot.”
Further benefits of the subcutaneous solid dose vaccine include the improvement of safety for patients. “The needle-free process is usually much preferred by patients, especially children,” said Hipkiss.
“ImplaVax also presents advantages in terms of storage and distribution as it is more thermally stable than liquid dose vaccines and does not require cold storage. This reduces costs and would increase accessibility of vaccination, particularly in areas where maintaining the cold chain is challenging.”
Enesi has forged several partnerships with institutions and pharma firms over its Implevex technology within the past year.
These include collaborations with Public Health England for needle-free delivery of vaccine candidates including Anthrax recombinant Protective Antigen (rPA) and Crimean-Congo Haemorrhagic Fever (CCHF), the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research for Shigella vaccine development, and Sementis for vaccines against peanut hypoallergy and single vectored chikungunya/Zika. And in January, the firm partnered to use the tech with GeoVax Labs MVA-VLP vaccine.
And earlier this month teamed with scientists at the Oxford Vaccine Group at the University of Oxford, to create and test a solid dose vaccine against plague.
“This is our first collaboration to develop vaccines for infectious diseases based on adenovirus vectors and represents important progress with our broad strategy to assess the potential of our ImplaVax technology with the major immunogenic platforms on which global vaccines are based,” Hipkiss said at the time.
“Plague is a clear priority for governments and public health organisations around the world and there is a real need for a vaccine where none currently exists.”