Soligenix presented promising data from preclinical trials of RiVax, its ricin toxin vaccine, at the American Society of Microbiology Biodefense and Emerging Diseases Research meeting held in Washington, DC last month.
The 12 non-human primates that received the vaccine developed neutralizing antibodies after the third injection with no evidence of elevated heart rate, respiration or temperature. All the animals that received the vaccine survived aerosolized ricin exposure that was three to five times greater than that needed to kill unvaccinated animals.
The six primates who received a placebo instead of the vaccination all died within 40 hours of exposure.
In addition, the lungs of the vaccinated animals showed no signs of permanent damage from the ricin exposure.
The vaccine has been developed utilizing thermal stabilization technology, so it can be stored and administered at room-temperature.
Soligenix developed RiVax under a grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. There currently are no approved prevention measures for ricin toxicity, which can causes organ damage, tissue necrosis and death within days of exposure.
If future clinical testing on humans proves successful, RiVax may be added to the U.S. Strategic National Stockpile.