Soligenix to collaborate with IDRI on biodefense vaccines

Soligenix, Inc., a development stage biopharmaceutical company, announced a collaboration on Wednesday with the Seattle-based Infectious Disease Research Institute to develop biodefense vaccines using IDRI's synthetic adjuvants and Soligenix's ThermoVax platform.

The vaccines, which will also use Soligenix's proprietary subunit proteins, may result in vaccines with characteristics for the rapid onset of protective immunity and long-term stability that could be stockpiled for use in an emergency. The first objective of the collaboration will be the development of an anthrax vaccine.

"IDRI is enthusiastic about working with Soligenix to support their efforts in developing their anthrax and ricin vaccine candidates, and are highly confident that IDRI's adjuvant technology can help build effective vaccines," Darrick Carter, IDRI's vice president of adjuvant technology, said. "These new candidate vaccines could be the critical solution in providing protection to people in the event there is a bioterror threat from the release of anthrax or ricin toxins."

The anthrax vaccine will combine IDRI's adjuvant compounds for generating high titer neutralizing antibodies to anthrax toxin with Soligenix's second generation dominant negative inhibitor subunit protein anthrax vaccine candidate called VeloThrax. The companies will also collaborate on a ricin vaccine.

"We are very pleased to be able to enter into a partnership of this type with IDRI," Christopher J. Schaber, the president and CEO of Soligenix, said. "IDRI possesses novel R&D, manufacturing and technical expertise in the field of adjuvants. We believe that with the addition of IDRI's potent adjuvants to our hyperimmunogenic anthrax and ricin toxin vaccines, we will have the potential to develop highly competitive biodefense vaccines that can address the exact needs of the US government with regard to rapid onset immunity with just one or two doses. As with any biodefense program, our goal is to have VeloThrax and RiVax stockpiled by the U.S. government in its strategic national stockpile."

The initial research of the collaboration will be conducted under Soligenix's existing $9.4 million grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease.