Voltron Therapeutics, Inc. Initiates Animal Testing of Self-Assembling Vaccine in Fight Against COVID-19
NEW YORK, July 08, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Voltron Therapeutics, Inc. announced today it has initiated preclinical animal testing of the first construct of its HaloVax Self-Assembling Vaccine (SAV) against COVID-19. Voltron will take two different vaccines, with differing sets of targets into preclinical testing, in order to identify the best balance of immune responses for prevention of this pandemic pathogen. HaloVax is being developed in conjunction with Hoth Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ: HOTH).
The vaccine is built on a base of a heat shock protein (HSP70) that activates the cellular portion of the immune system; this is different from most other vaccine efforts, which have used adjuvants such as alum. The second portion of the vaccine consists of peptides derived from the COVID-19 virus, which are bound to the heat shock protein via Avidin and Biotin. This enables rapid iteration and up-to-date data informed changes in the peptide sequences to enable swift production and accommodate potential changes in the pathogen itself. The selected immunogenic peptides complete the customized COVID-19 vaccine.
Dr. Mark Poznansky, Director, Vaccine and Immunotherapy Center, MGH said, “The heat shock protein that is the immune activating component of our vaccine has shown efficacy in facilitating a productive immune response while minimizing mechanisms known to induce adverse reactions to a vaccine. Our goal is to rapidly develop and test a vaccine that could help the population at large, and especially individuals who are at increased risk for the most serious complications of COVID-19 infection. Preclinical testing begins here and the fact that prior animal testing of our vaccine platform in the context of other infections has been successful increases the probability of success with our new COVID-19 vaccine.”
The vaccine is currently in development by HaloVax, LLC a biopharmaceutical company and special purpose subsidiary of Voltron Therapeutics, Inc. The company was established to advance an application of VaxCelerate, the SAV platform licensed from the Vaccine and Immunotherapy Center (VIC) at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) specifically for the rapid development of vaccines against emerging pathogens including COVID-19 and specific types of cancer. The VaxCelerate platform was developed to improve patient outcomes by activating and targeting the immune system to identify and destroy the infectious agent. Voltron Therapeutics, Inc. has acquired an exclusive worldwide license to this technology from MGH.
“Our team has worked tirelessly to bring HaloVax into preclinical testing, as we continue the development and, potentially, deployment of a vaccine that will not only prevent disease, but will offer safe administration with a strong immune response,” said Pat Gallagher, Chief Executive Officer, Voltron Therapeutics, Inc. “We are quite optimistic that given the kind of safety profile we are targeting in the development of Haloax, that successful preclinical testing will rapidly lead to clinical trials in humans and bring us closer to a proven and effective vaccine to help treat COVID-19 infection.”
About Voltron Therapeutics, Inc.
About HaloVax™, LLC
About Hoth Therapeutics, Inc.
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