The non-exclusive license agreement allows VaxInnate to employ 3M’s patented microneedle technology, the microstructured transdermal system (MTS), in the delivery of its M2e universal flu vaccine via a skin patch.
As 3M’s MTS manager Kris Hansen explained, the project has the potential to dramatically improve the delivery of vaccines. He said that the “technology combines the ease, convenience and self-administration potential of a transdermal patch with the speed and efficiency of a traditional injection”
He added that: "Studies using model vaccines have validated the potential effectiveness of delivering vaccines with the solid Microstructured Transdermal System."
Mark Tomai who heads up 3M’s head of vaccine business development division added that the MTS technology’s reduced need cold-chain storage would provide significant logistical advantages in the event of a pandemic.
These thoughts were echoed by VaxInnate CEO Alan Shaw, who commented that: "The ability to deliver VaxInnate's M2e universal flu vaccine using 3M's transdermal patch could make it possible to vaccinate people rapidly for seasonal flu or in the event of a pandemic flu, when doing so is critical to stopping the spread of disease.“
Universal vaccine for influenza
VaxInnate’s product, which is due to enter large scale clinical trials early next year, is designed to be a universal vaccine that can protect against any influenza virus. The vaccine targets the M2 ectodomain (M2e) portion of the virus, which is present in exactly the same form regardless of strain.
To date, VaxInnate has reported impressive results from early human testing indicating that the agent is highly immunogenic and protects against a very broad spectrum of influenza strains.
The New Jersey-headquartered firm believes that such an approach could eventually make seasonal influenza vaccinations redundant. An effective universal vaccine would remove the need to reformulate each winter to combat the virus strain circulating that particular season.
Additionally, such a product would have distinct advantages for health care agencies preparing for a global epidemic as it would allow them to stockpile treatments in advance, regardless of which pandemic strain emerges.