Funding boost for innovative VacciMax platform

By Anna Lewcock

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Immune system

Canadian vaccine specialist ImmunoVaccine Technologies (IVT) has
scored a multi-million dollar grant to go towards developing its
potent immune enhancement systems.

The Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) is providing $3m over the next three years to the Nova Scotia company, contributing to a $6m project to develop vaccines that provide stronger, longer-lasting immune responses that could eliminate the need for re-immunisation.

IVT will focus on developing novel vaccines for cancer and infectious diseases using its vaccine enhancement technology, VacciMax.

The patented technology platform is based on a novel use of liposomes which, when stabilised by the VacciMax technology, can significantly enhance antibody production.

The vaccine-enhancement platform itself comprises an emulsion of liposomes, antigens, adjuvants and oil, and according to IVT has been shown to improve both the humoral (antibody) and cell-mediated immune response.

Able to stimulate an earlier, more potent, longer lasting immune response, the VacciMax platform is apparently able to 'dramatically enhance' the immune response with a single dose when compared to other commercially available vaccines.

Not only this, but with the enhanced efficacy lending itself to cancer immunotherapy, IVT claims to have achieved 100 per cent tumour elimination with a single dose of the enhanced vaccine in three independent cancer models.

The technology can be used with any antigen, including recombinant proteins and synthetic peptide antigens, as well as antigens already used in commercial vaccines.

IVT cites several key advantages of VacciMax platform.

Aside from the rapid immune response and faster prophylactic protection, higher levels of antibody titers provide more effective and complete immune protection, and a higher proportion of antibodies bind to the intended target providing greater efficacy.

Combine these benefits with the accepted safety profile of the liposome components and the fact that a single injection can provide protection lasting up to several years, and the grant announced this week looks well-deserved.

In November 2007 the company announced that it had completed commercial scale-up of the VacciMax platform with the help of contract services provider Dalton Pharma.

The company manufactured a 50L batch (200,000 doses) of a prophylactic vaccine, successfully overcoming the challenges associated with large-scale liposome production.

The efficacy of the scaled-up batches had not diminished, matching that of small-scale batches mad by the company in-house.

Equipment dedicated to production of vaccines using the VacciMax platform has now been purchased and installed at the contract manufacture facilities.

Last month IVT also acquired Immunotope, a US biotech specialising in immunotherapies for the treatment and prevention of cancer and infectious diseases.

The purchase will bring together IVT's VacciMax platform with Immunotope's portfolio of immunotherapeutic antigens and antigen discovery platform, allowing the combined company to form an entire pipeline of proprietary therapeutic cancer and infectious disease-specific vaccines.

The acquisition is due to be complete by June this year.

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