NEW YORK—In very early March, Tonix Pharmaceuticals Holding Corp., working with researchers from the University of Alberta, announced the successful synthesis of a potential smallpox-preventing vaccine. This vaccine candidate, TNX-801, is a live form of horsepox virus (HPXV) that has been demonstrated to have protective vaccine activity in mice.
“Presently, the safety concern of existing smallpox-preventing vaccines outweigh the potential benefit to provide immunization of first responders or the general public. By developing TNX-801 as a horsepox vaccine to prevent smallpox infection, we hope to have a safer vaccine to protect against smallpox than is currently available,” said Dr. Seth Lederman, president and CEO of Tonix. “Vaccines are a critical component of the infrastructure of global public health. Vaccination protects those who are vaccinated and also those who are not vaccinated, by decreasing the risk of contagion.”
“Our goal is to improve on current methods that protect the public from possible viral outbreaks,” added Dr. David Evans, a professor and vice dean of research in the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry at the University of Alberta, as well as principal investigator of the TNX-801 research project.
HPXV was synthesized by Evans and research associate Dr. Ryan Noyce at the University of Alberta, with Dr. Lederman as co-investigator of the research and co-inventor of the TNX-801 patent. Under their research and development agreement, Tonix wholly owns the synthesized HPXV virus stock and related sequences. Evans and Noyce also demonstrated that HPXV has protective vaccine activity in mice, using a model of lethal vaccinia infection. Vaccine manufacturing activities have been initiated by Tonix to support further nonclinical testing of TNX-801.