Soligenix announces combination ricin, anthrax vaccine

Soligenix, Inc., a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company, announced on Wednesday that its combination ricin and anthrax vaccine induces protective immunity to both ricin toxin and anthrax toxin exposure.

Soligenix, which conducted the studies under a $9.4 million cooperative grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, found that its RiVax candidate ricin vaccine and VeloThrax candidate anthrax vaccine each induced antibodies when administered as a single vaccine. When combined, the dual vaccine induced antibodies that were reactive against both toxins and detected until at least 200 days after the immunization regimens.

The combined vaccine provided protection from exposure to both ricin toxin and anthrax toxin for at least six months after two vaccinations. The results suggest that long-term immunity can be achieved through simultaneous vaccination.

"We are pleased that we have been able to show that the combination of vaccines for these two very important biothreats can be accomplished," Christopher Schaber, the president and CEO of Soligenix, said. "The demonstration of simultaneous immunity to ricin toxin and anthrax is a step towards multivalent vaccines that can be used in the event of a national emergency. Both of these vaccines are being developed for military personnel and emergency first responders, and thus it would be extremely useful if the vaccines could be administered simultaneously without compromising the response to either vaccine, while still providing protection against whichever toxin might be encountered."

Soligenix collaborated on the studies with the Wadsworth Institute of the New York State Department of Health. Preclinical studies evaluating the production of antibody levels and survival after toxin challenge demonstrated the potency of the vaccine combination.

"Multivalent vaccines will achieve more efficient vaccination with fewer injections; this has the potential to be a distinct advantage in deployment of vaccines if any biothreat agent is actually used as a weapon and will be more useful for vaccination of military personnel and first responders," Schaber said. "We intend to develop the combination vaccine using ThermoVax, our proprietary system for stabilizing vaccines for stockpiling and for distribution of vaccines outside of normal cold chain requirements."

Soligenix develops biodefense vaccines and therapeutics, as well as products that treat serious inflammatory diseases where there remains an unmet medical need.