OXFORD, United Kingdom—Biotechnology company PsiOxusTherapeutics, Ltd. has announced the receipt of an award of a $3.3 millioncontract from the U.S. Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA). The contractcovers the development of biodefense vaccine adjuvants, using PsiOxusTherapeutics' proprietary PolyMAP technology to improve the safety and efficacyof a pair of vaccine candidates: the recombinant Protective Antigen for anthraxand the Venezuelan Equine Encephalopathy Virus.
The contract will cover work on the adjuvants over athree-year period in the United States, as well as in PsiOxus Therapeutics' newlaboratory in Oxford, United Kingdom, a state-of-the-art facility equipped forthe handling of live viruses.
"We are honored to have received this contract from the DTRAand excited at the prospect of helping to improve the safety and efficacy ofthese two very important vaccine candidates using the PolyMAP technology," Dr.John Beadle, CEO of PsiOxus Therapeutics, said in a press release. "Adjuvantplatforms are key to innovating and growing the global vaccine market, and weare confident that our immunotherapeutic platform PolyMAP, along with ouroncolytic vaccines expertise and team of renowned scientists, will play asignificant and long-term role in the future of the industry."
PsiOxus Therapeutics' PolyMAP technology is animmunotherapeutic platform that combines polymers and synthetic adjuvants toproduce significant increases in the effectiveness of vaccines. The PolyMAPplatform's main properties include clustering of receptors throughcross-linking, improved solubility of toll-like receptor ligands that exhibitlittle ease of use in their free form and increased receptor avidity throughcooperative multivalent interactions.
In the immune system, toll-like receptors function asprimary responders to danger signals and play a pivotal role in combatinginfectious and inflammatory diseases. By identifying specific toll-likereceptor ligands and binding them with specific vaccine antigen, it is possibleto shape the immune outcome and tune vaccine formulations. PsiOxusTherapeutics' PolyMAP platform technology enables the development of fullysynthetic adjuvants through the use of polymers to present adjuvant sub-unitsin a natural pattern, which leads to increased potency. By adjusting thespecific toll-like receptor classes that PolyMAP targets, it is possible toboth achieve the heightened adjuvant potency as well as reduce unwantedtoxicities in non-specific non-synthetic adjuvants.
The global vaccines market is expected to reach $32.2billion by 2017, with market growth driven by the growing pediatric population,international travel and addiction. In addition, cancer vaccines have become agrowing element in the market, with PsiOxus Therapeutics itself boastingseveral vaccines candidates in its pipeline, including ColoAd1, currently indevelopment for colorectal (Phase I) and ovarian (preclinical) cancer, andPSI-001 and PolySTAR, both of which are in development for the treatment ofsolid tumors.
SOURCE: PsiOxus Therapeutics press release