Soligenix, Inc: Vital Vaccine Development Program has Potential to Address Future Marburg Virus Outbreaks
As Equatorial Guinea confirms the deaths of nine people in its first outbreak of Marburg virus, Soligenix, Inc.’s (Nasdaq : SNGX) work in developing critical public health solutions has become even more timely.
Soligenix, a late-stage biopharmaceutical company, is advancing the only subunit (protein) vaccine platform shown to protect against potentially lethal Ebola and Marburg viruses. The company has successfully attracted government funding and grants to its programs as it responds to the acute need for effective vaccines to stop virus outbreaks at their source.
Potential solutions for health authorities
According to the World Health Organization, Marburg virus can have a fatality rate of up to 88%. There is no approved vaccine or antiviral therapy available. In Equatorial Guinea, local health authorities are limited to tracing and isolating suspected cases and treatment is limited to managing patients’ symptoms.
Soligenix’s Marburg virus vaccine candidate has demonstrated 100% protection in non-human primates against both Marburg marburgvirus and Sudan ebolavirus. It is a bivalent, thermostabilized vaccine formulated in a single vial, reconstituted only with sterile water immediately prior to use.
Eliminating the need for cold-chain storage
Outbreaks of filoviruses, including Marburg virus, frequently occur in regions where the power supply and distribution networks can be uncertain. This makes cold-chain storage of vaccines requiring ultra-cold conditions nearly impossible. A thermostabilized vaccine for deadly filoviruses would be a lifesaver, significantly enhancing global public health preparedness and responses to new outbreaks, at their source.
Soligenix is working to make thermostabilized vaccines a reality, with its ThermoVax® platform. The company’s heat-stable vaccine platform has demonstrated that its proprietary method of preparing vaccines has the potential to eliminate the need for cold chain distribution and storage, with vaccines maintaining full potency and thermostability at temperatures as high as 104 degrees Fahrenheit for as much as 12 months. This offers a cost-effective solution to populations with limited resources for storing vaccines.
In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, the United States government has been considering recommendations for preparing for the next potential public health crisis.
In October 2022, Soligenix was invited by the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) Division of Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) Medical Countermeasures to submit a full contract proposal for the development of single-vial, adjuvanted, heat stable subunit vaccines to prevent filovirus infection. This submission supports a potential multi-year, multi-million dollar contract to develop SuVax™ and MarVax™ vaccine candidates as medical countermeasures (MCM) for use in the event of a Sudan ebolavirus or Marburg marburgvirus outbreak.
BARDA’s mission is to develop and procure needed MCMs, including vaccines, therapeutics, diagnostics, and non-pharmaceutical countermeasures, against a broad array of public health threats, whether natural or intentional in origin.
The company’s Public Health Solutions unit regularly takes advantage of grant and contract funding opportunities as it pursues the development of vaccines and therapeutics for military and civilian applications, having now secured approximately $60m in non-dilutive government support to date. The development of Soligenix’s vaccines is part of an ongoing long-term collaboration with the company’s academic partner, the University of Hawaiʽi at Mānoa. Soligenix’s work in developing the SuVax™ and MarVax™ vaccine candidates was partially supported by a $1.5m Small Business Innovation Grant awarded to Soligenix and a grant to the University of Hawaiʽi at Mānoa from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).
Find out more
Soligenix’s Chief Scientific Officer, Dr. Oreola Donini, provides more information about Soligenix’s Thermostabilized Filovirus Vaccine Platform in this video interview.