In July 2023 VitriVax announced that it had been awarded a $29 million contract over 5 years from the Defence Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA), within the US Department of Defence. The research proposal, “Optimisation and Production of Single-Shot Vaccines for Melioidosis and Glanders”, will apply VitriVax’s single-shot and thermostabilisation technology (ALTA) to a lead B. pseudomallei (Bp) vaccine candidate. This is currently a three-dose regimen. The goal is to develop a single injection, thermostable vaccine formulation to protect against melioidosis and glanders. The project will focus on preclinical studies and development of Good Manufacturing Practice protocols. 

Melioidosis and glanders 

Melioidosis and glanders are infectious diseases caused by a bacterial species called Burkholderia, specifically Burkholderia pseudomallei and Burkholderia mallei. Glanders initially presents as fever, and is followed by pneumonia, pustules, and abscesses. The acute form of the disease “usually is fatal within 7 to 10 days of onset”. Melioidosis can cause fever, cough, headaches, or night sweats, but “presentation is highly variable”. This can range from localised infections to abscesses of the liver or spleen, to sepsis.  

VitriVax and ALTA 

With a strong research team, comprising formulation and analytical scientists as well as particle engineers and manufacturing experts, the company has partnered with University of Nevada, Reno, and the Latham BioPham Group. This collaboration will facilitate a support team of “industry veterans” who are experienced in Bp vaccine development, government programme management, and government contract compliance.  

VitriVax has engineered its proprietary Atomic Layering Thermostable Antigen and Adjuvant (ALTA) technology platform to enable thermostable, single-shot vaccines, across a range of indications and “maintaining or potentially even enhancing the immune response”. ALTA can be applied to a variety of vaccine antigens and adjuvants to prevent thermal or chemical degradation and enable controlled release

Dr Kimberly D. Erickson, VitriVax’s VP of Operations and Principal Investigator, is “excited” at the opportunity, looking forward to bringing their technology to a “class of vaccines that will benefit both military personnel and the general population”.  

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