Soligenix announces progress with heat stable ricin and anthrax vaccines

Soligenix, Inc., a Princeton, New Jersey-based clinical stage biopharmaceutical company, announced progress on Tuesday in the development of ThermoVax, a proprietary vaccine thermostabilization technology used in the company's anthrax and ricin vaccines.

Several complementary preclinical studies conducted with RiVax, the company's proprietary ricin toxin vaccine, and VeloThrax, the company's anthrax vaccine, indicated the potential for high temperature stability for a minimum of six months and increased potency when vaccines are formulated with ThermoVax. ThermoVax is a technology meant to eliminate the standard cold chain production, distribution and storage logistics needed for most vaccines.

"We are pleased with the progress demonstrated thus far with our vaccines that employ ThermoVax," stated Christopher Schaber, the president and CEO of Soligenix, said. "The ability to engineer vaccines that are able to withstand extreme temperatures and thereby eliminate the cold chain while simultaneously reducing the frequency of vaccinations has the potential to be a significant step forward in vaccine technology. Beyond its biodefense applications, ThermoVax has the potential to lead to major cost savings in the production, distribution and storage of currently marketed vaccines and could further facilitate their use in the developing world. We are excited about the potential utility of the ThermoVax technology and recently have initiated discussions with a number of vaccine companies and non-profit organizations regarding the potential for collaboration on heat stable versions of their vaccine candidates."

Recent results found that when VeloThrax was formulated with ThermoVax and subsequently exposed to temperatures as high as 158 degrees Fahrenheit for at least one month, the vaccines maintained full potency and receptor binding in animals.

The research and development of ThermoVax is supported by a $9.4 million grant by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease for biodefense vaccines to prevent anthrax and ricin toxin exposure.

According to the Biopharma Cold Chain Sourcebook of 2010, 98 percent of vaccines with a value of $20.6 billion require cold chain shipment. Additionally, the World Health Organization reports that 50 percent of all global vaccine doses are wasted because they are not kept within necessary temperature ranges. ThermoVax could enhance vaccine utility for markets that lack reliable cold chain capabilities.