PolyMAP Technology Increases Antigenic Response to Improve Vaccine Safety and Efficacy
PsiOxus Therapeutics, Ltd. (PsiOxus), a development stage biotechnology company, today announced the award of a US$3.3 million contract from the US Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) to develop biodefence vaccine adjuvants using the company’s proprietary PolyMAP technology to help improve the safety and efficacy of two vaccines candidates: the recombinant Protective Antigen (rPA) for Anthrax and the Venezuelan Equine Encephalopathy Virus (VEEV). PolyMAP is an immunotherapeutic platform that combines polymers with synthetic adjuvants to significantly enhance the effectiveness of vaccines.
We are honoured to have received this contract from the DTRA and excited at the prospect of helping to improve the safety and efficacy of these two very important vaccine candidates using the PolyMAP technology,” said Dr. John Beadle, CEO of PsiOxus Therapeutics. “Adjuvant platforms are key to innovating and growing the global vaccine market, and we are confident that our immunotherapeutic platform PolyMAP, along with our oncolytic vaccines expertise and team of renowned scientists, will play a significant and long-term role in the future of the industry.”
The contract will support work over a three-year period in the US, as well as in the company’s new state-of-the-art laboratory in Oxford, which has been designed and equipped as a category two laboratory for the handling of live viruses.
The global market for Human Vaccines is forecast to reach US$32.21 billion by the year 2017 1, with key factors such as the growing pediatric population, world travel, and addiction driving market growth. The potential for significant growth and uptake of therapeutic vaccines is expected to further add to this significant growth potential in the longer term.
The PolyMAP Technology
Toll-like receptors (TRLs) function as first responders to danger signals and are significant to combat infectious and inflammatory disease. Identifying specific TLR ligands and binding them with a specific vaccine antigen enables the shaping of the immune outcome and provides a means of tuning vaccine formulations. While small synthetic TLR agonists are relatively inexpensive and simple to manufacture, they poorly reproduce the essential ‘pattern’ component of the larger natural TRL ligands.
The PolyMAP platform technology allows for the development of fully synthetic adjuvants using polymers to present adjuvant sub-units in a natural pattern, thus making them much more potent. By adjusting the specific TLR receptor classes targeted by PolyMAP, it is further possible to maintain this adjuvant potency but reduce the unwanted toxicities of the non-specific non-synthetic adjuvants. The platform’s key properties – increased receptor avidity through cooperative, multi-valent interactions, clustering of receptors through cross-linking and the improved solubility of TLR ligands that are otherwise difficult to use in their free form – make the PolyMAP technology unique and promising for enhanced adjuvant activity and safety.
About the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA)
DTRA safeguards America’s interests from weapons of mass destruction (chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and high explosives) by controlling and reducing the threat to the United States and its allies, and providing quality tools and services for the warfighter. This Department of Defense combat support agency is located at Fort Belvoir, Va., and operates field offices worldwide.
About PsiOxus Therapeutics, Ltd.
PsiOxus Therapeutics is an Oxford, UK-based development stage biotechnology company using non-traditional approaches to develop novel therapeutics that address cancer and other clinically unmet diseases. ColoAd1 is an oncolytic vaccine for the systemic treatment of metastatic cancer, which has demonstrated exceptional anti-cancer properties in late pre-clinical development and is now in phase I clinical development. MT-102 is a dual action Anabolic Catabolic Transforming Agent (ACTA) in phase II clinical development for the treatment of cachexia and sarcopenia. The Company is also developing treatments based upon the research phase vaccine platform PolySTAR, which combines recombinant viral vectors with polymers to shield them from the immune system, and the research phase adjuvant and immunotherapeutic platform PolyMAP, which combines polymers with synthetic adjuvants to significantly enhance the effectiveness of vaccines.
Dr. John Beadle is CEO of PsiOxus. Dr. Beadle was previously a co-founder of PowderMed, which was sold to Pfizer, Inc. for more than $300 million in 2006. Dr. Michael Moore, the former CEO of Piramed, which was acquired by Roche in 2008, serves as Chairman of the Board of Directors.
PsiOxus is advised by a distinguished Scientific Advisory Board that includes Prof Len Seymour (Chair of Gene Medicine at Oxford University and Secretary General of the European Society for Gene and Stem Cell Therapy), Dr Kerry Fisher (an internationally-recognized specialist in molecular medicine, also of Oxford University), Prof Andrew Coats (Norwich Research Park Professor-at-Large, University of East Anglia), and Prof Stefan Anker (Professor of Cardiology and Cachexia Research at Charité Medical School, Berlin and President of the Society on Sarcopenia, Cachexia and Wasting Diseases).
Dr John Beadle, Chief Executive Officer
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1 Global Industry Analysts, Inc.,” Human Vaccines – A Global Strategic Report”,