Vaccine patch outperforms needle-and-syringe jabs in pre-clinical study

pharmafile | June 3, 2021 | News story | |  COVID-19, Vaccine, technology 

Vaxxas, an Australian clinical-stage biotechnology company, has announced positive results from pre-clinical trials into its novel high-density microarray patch (HD-MAP) for vaccination against COVID-19.

Using a novel SARS-CoV-2 spike subunit vaccine, the preclinical study of HD-MAP showed enhancement of immune response compared to vaccination by needle-and-syringe, including significantly enhanced T-cell and spike-specific antibody responses as compared to needle-and-syringe delivery.

Vaxxas’ HD-MAP is a 9x9mm array of thousands of very short (~250µm) projections, invisible to the naked eye, coated with vaccine. Application of the HD-MAP to the skin is ‘needle-free’ and is designed to deliver vaccine to abundant populations of immune cells below the skin surface.

Interestingly, complete protection from COVID-19 by a single dose skin patch delivery using HD-MAP was shown in a lethal virus challenge in a relevant COVID-19 animal model. Comparable protection against COVID-19 was not seen with the same vaccine when delivered by needle-and-syringe, even when the spike subunit vaccine formulation included appropriate adjuvants.

David A. Muller, Advance Queensland Industry Research Fellow at the School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences, The University of Queensland, said: “We designed this research to address the serious on-going need to improve the global vaccination efforts against COVID-19 and future pandemics.

“Based on our results, we believe that Vaxxas’ HD-MAP could offer a compelling solution that importantly could use less vaccine and potentially could be readily distributed without refrigeration for self-administration.

“This combination could make the HD-MAP extremely well suited to support the massive need for global population vaccination and, indeed, we believe that HD-MAP offers a superior alternative to conventional needle-and-syringe.”

Image depicting the HD-MAP to scale

The research underlying the study was co-funded by Vaxxas and the Queensland Government and was performed in collaboration with researchers at the University of Queensland and Griffith University and led by Muller.

In the studies, the SARS-CoV-2 spike subunit vaccine was dry-coated on the HD-MAP patch using proprietary systems and technology developed by Vaxxas.  Once applied on the Vaxxas HD-MAP, the patch vaccine dose was shown to be stable for at least 30 days at 25˚C which opens up the future potential for unrefrigerated distribution and potentially self-administration.

David L. Hoey, President and CEO of Vaxxas, said: “We are extremely excited about these compelling early results showing the potential of Vaxxas’ proprietary HD-MAP vaccination platform to deliver safe and effective vaccines against COVID-19.

“We believe that having a single dose vaccine that could be easily distributed and self-administered would greatly improve global pandemic vaccination capabilities.”

Kat Jenkins

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