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$4.3 Million Funds Needle-free Patch Coming in From the Cold

January 17, 2023 • 8:15 am CST
Vaxxas High Density Microarray Patch
(Precision Vaccinations)

The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and Vaxxas today announced an agreement to advance the development of needle-free vaccine-patch delivery technology in a project that could end the need for frozen storage of mRNA vaccines.

CEPI confirmed on January 17, 2023, it would provide up to $4.3 million (AUD6.4 million) for preclinical testing of Vaxxas' platform, a needle-free, high-density microarray patch (HD-MAP) to assess its stability, safety, and immunogenicity.

And to evaluate its potential as a rapid-response technology for heat-stable, dried-formulation mRNA vaccines.

In addition to a Phase I clinical study of a COVID-19 vaccine candidate patch, Vaxxas is performing demonstration work in preparation for clinical evaluation under contract with the U.S. government on pandemic vaccination solutions.

HD-MAPs comprise thousands of microscopic points attached to a small patch.

Each of these micro-projections contains a tiny dose of vaccine in a dried formulation. When applied to the skin, the patch delivers the vaccine to the abundant immune cells immediately below the skin surface.

HD-MAP vaccine delivery offers many advantages over more traditional vaccine administration methods.

For example, the dried form of the vaccine is more stable at higher temperatures than vaccines in liquid formulations.

Vaxxas' HD-MAPs have proven safe and tolerable in hundreds of trial participants and have been shown to induce equal or greater immune responses to injected vaccines at lower doses.

Compared with needle and syringe systems, they are also much easier to administer and are likely to have greater acceptability.

Ultimately, HD-MAP patches could enable a future in which vaccine patches could be mailed directly to peoples' homes, workplaces, and schools, avoiding the delay and inconvenience of traditional needle-and-syringe vaccine scheduling and administration.

David Hoey, Vaxxas's CEO, commented in a related press release, "Earning this significant funding from one of the world leaders in vaccine development is a great honor and validates the benefits offered by Vaxxas' HD-MAP vaccine platform in the fight against global epidemic and pandemic threats."

"In addition to providing an opportunity to get life-saving vaccines for infectious diseases that have a disproportionate impact on the most vulnerable populations around the world, the advanced development of HD-MAP delivery of mRNA vaccines could also prove very beneficial for the development of Vaxxas' internal pipeline across several diseases, including Covid-19."

Vaxxas' core technology was initially developed at The University of Queensland in Australia. The private company was established as a start-up in 2011.

On December 5, 2022, Vaxxas announced it completed a financing round that raised US$23 million in new funds. 

CEPI is an innovative partnership between public, private, philanthropic, and civil organizations, launched in 2017, to develop vaccines against future epidemics. Its mission is to accelerate the development of vaccines and other biologic countermeasures against epidemic and pandemic threats so they can be accessible to all needy people.