Novavax announced in June 2023 that it has signed a three-year agreement with the Bill and Melinda Gates Medical Research Institute to provide its Matrix-Madjuvant for use in preclinical vaccine research. The adjuvant is an element of Novavax’s COVID-19 vaccine and development-stage vaccines for influenza and COVID-19 and influenza combined. It is also being used across the world for human and animal vaccines. 

What is Matrix-M™? 

The patented adjuvant is saponin based and enhances the immune system’s response, making it “broader” and “more durable”, suggests Novavax. It stimulates the entry of antigen-presenting cells at the site of injection and enhances presentation in local lymph nodes.  

Saponins are naturally occurring compounds in the bark of the Quillaja saponaria (Soapbark) tree. This is commonly found in Chile. Saponins are often used for their medicinal purposes and there is already a vaccine containing a saponin-based adjuvant approved by the FDA.  

The partnership 

John C Jacobs is Novavax’s President and CEO. He is “excited” to partner with the Research Institute to “include our unique technology in their public health-focused vaccine research efforts”.  

“Our Matrix-Madjuvant is proven to enhance and broaden the immune system response when included in vaccines and is already a key component of COVID and malaria vaccines on the market today.” 

Mr Jacobs looked forward to “partnering more broadly” with a “variety of organisations” to promote their technology and benefit vaccine development “across many disease areas”.  

Dr Emilio Emini, CEO of the Bill and Melinda Gates Medical Research Institute looks forward to the partnership and using the adjuvant in “early-stage vaccine programmes”. 

“The Bill and Melinda Gates Medical Research Institute is committed to developing biomedical interventions that address global health concerns for those in the greatest need.” 

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