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TMCNet:  Vaxart Creates Effective Oral H7N9 Avian Influenza Vaccine in 20 Days

[June 26, 2013]

Vaxart Creates Effective Oral H7N9 Avian Influenza Vaccine in 20 Days

SAN FRANCISCO --(Business Wire)--

Vaxart, a privately held company developing recombinant vaccines that are administered by tablet rather than injection, today announced successful results for its candidate H7N9 avian influenza vaccine in preclinical testing, where the Vaxart vaccine induced robust anti-hemagglutinin (anti-HA) titers.

Since April 2013, when H7N9 appeared as a newly emergent influenza subtype, the virus has caused 37 deaths in 132 identified cases, according to reports from the World Health Organization (WHO). Notably, Vaxart constructed and produced its H7N9 avian influenza vaccine in just 20 days following receipt of the gene sequence coding for the hemagglutinin (HA) of the H7N9 avian influenza strain.

"This result confirms that the Vaxart platform is capable of generating potent and immunogenic vaccines against newly emerging influenza strains in record time," said Ciaran Scallan, Ph.D., Associate Director of Research for Vaxart. "The ability to respond rapidly is paricularly important when a new virus shows high morbidity and potential for pandemic spread, as H7N9 does."

Vaxart developed its H7N9 avian influenza vaccine from the HA sequence (ID EPI440095) downloaded from the GISAID EpifluTM Database. Dr. Jun Li of the Hangzhou Center for Disease Control in Hangzhou, China, submitted the original sequence.

"By constructing our vaccines recombinantly and manufacturing them in high-yield production systems, we don't need the influenza virus itself and can respond to emerging pathogens much faster than traditional influenza vaccine manufacturers that rely on eggs for production," said Vaxart CEO Wouter Latour, MD. "As icing on the cake, our room-temperature stable vaccine tablets will greatly simplify and accelerate distribution. In the event of a pandemic threat, vaccines could even be distributed through the mail for self-administration at home."

Vaxart's preclinical H7N9 avian influenza vaccine results follow recent positive results for safety and immunogenicity in the company's Phase I clinical trials for H1N1 seasonal influenza and H5N1 avian influenza vaccines.

About Vaxart

Vaxart is a privately owned company developing oral recombinant vaccines based on its proprietary delivery platform. The Vaxart platform is suitable to deliver any protein vaccine antigen such as those used in currently marketed influenza, hepatitis B and human papilloma virus (HPV) blockbuster vaccines. Care Capital of Princeton is the lead investor in the company and its largest shareholder. For more information, please visit www.vaxart.com.


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