In November 2023 Micron Biomedical announced that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has committed a $23.6 million grant to fund “mass production” of needle-free vaccines. A manufacturing facility will enable commercialisation of a microarray technology-based measles-rubella vaccine, indicated for children “as young as 9 months” after approval from appropriate regulatory authorities. This approval will be informed by earlier successful clinical data and additional clinical study.
Encouraging equitable access
Micron Biomedical states that measles remains a leading cause of death in low- and middle-income countries “primarily due to limited access to vaccines that require refrigeration during transport and storage and clinicians to administer them”. Micron’s technology reduces this requirement and will allow a community health worker to administer the vaccine “within minutes” through application and a button to confirm administration. Furthermore, this process is “virtually pain-free”.
James Goodson, Senior Scientist and Epidemiologist in the Global Immunisation Division at CDC, commented that these vaccines could provide an “alternative approach” to “life-saving vaccines” for children in regions with “some of the highest rates of unimmunised children in the world”. The technology could “help overcome some of the most substantial barriers” to measles and rubella eradication.
“Vaccines are among the most effective and cost-effective tools to prevent measles and rubella, diseases that account for an estimated 350 deaths per day with a disproportionate impact on people living in low- and middle-income countries.”
Steven Damon, CEO of Micron Biomedical, is “grateful” to the Gates Foundation for a grant that will allow the team to “build on our collaborative track record” of “bringing effective and life-saving vaccines” to communities with “limited infrastructure”.
“By supporting Micron’s efforts to develop a state-of-the-art, high-quality, and large-scale production facility to manufacture our microarray technology, we have an opportunity to greatly improve on access and availability of measles/rubella vaccines, as well as other traditionally injectable global health vaccines, in underserved populations.”
Mr Damon suggests that the production facility “establishes Micron’s proof of concept” for “additional commercial vaccines and drugs in all markets globally”.
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