In August 2023 Vaxxas announced that Wellcome has awarded the company £2.84 million to conduct IND-enabling studies and a first-in-human clinical study for a potentially second-generation typhoid vaccine. This would be delivered by Vaxxas’ proprietary high-density microarray patch (HD-MAP) platform technology.  

Typhoid vaccine 

In collaboration with SK bioscience and the International Vaccine Institute (IVI), Vaxxas developed SKYTyphoid, a typhoid vaccine formulation that is used to coat the HD-MAP. It is an approved typhoid conjugate vaccine that will be formulated to be more stable at higher temperatures than those required for needle and syringe vaccination. SKYTyphoid is “expected to provide acceptable immunogenicity” and “long-term preventative effects” with a single dose. 

Typhoid fever, caused by the bacterium Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi (commonly known as Salmonella Typhi) is a life-threatening systemic infection. It is most commonly spread through consumption of contaminated food or water. WHO suggests that around 9 million people are infected with the disease every year. 110,000 of these people die with the greatest mortality rates in lower-income countries.  

SK bioscience CEO Jaeyong Ahn warned that the “dangerous disease…frequently occurs in lower- and middle-income countries”. The available vaccines have “not been widely used” because they require thermostability and administration by a doctor. 

“This collaboration with Vaxxas provides an opportunity to overcome those challenges. We will continue to develop various formulations and products that can contribute human health based on cross-border cooperation with international organisations and institutions.” 
Thermostability and beyond 

The HD-MAP platform offers a “key benefit”: improved thermostability of vaccine products. This has the effect of reducing the cost and complexity of cold-chain distribution and storage, which are “significant” barriers to vaccine accessibility in LMICs. Furthermore, the technology could require less training to administer or facilitate self-administration.  

“Success in this endeavour has the potential to increase global access to the life-saving typhoid vaccine.”  

Pierre Balard, Senior Research Manager at Wellcome commented that “new vaccine innovations” are critical to the improvement of access and equitable coverage.  

“Vaxxas’ high-density microarray patch (HD-MAP) is an important step in this direction. With the potential to overcome some of the most enduring barriers to vaccine access in lower income countries, this product could be a vital addition to our global toolkit.”  

David L. Hoey, President and CEO of Vaxxas, agrees that the technology will be pivotal in “extending the global reach of typhoid conjugate vaccines”, making a “significant difference” to many people.  

“We are excited to be initiating this important work with Wellcome and SK bioscience to leverage our HD-MAP vaccine platform to potentially enhance typhoid vaccination.” 

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