Novavax granted key US patent for influenza VLP vaccines

Patent claims cover technology for rapid, efficient and uniform production of VLP vaccines

Clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company Novavax has been granted a US patent (No 7,763,450 for ‘Functional Influenza Virus-Like Particles (VLPS)’ covering the use of influenza gene sequences for high-yield production of consistent influenza VLP vaccines to protect against current and future seasonal and pandemic strains of influenza viruses.

Novavax's newly patented influenza vaccine technology utilizes hemagglutinin (HA) and neuraminidase (NA), major proteins found on the surface of the influenza virus together with a single influenza matrix 1 (M1) protein, to form the core of the influenza VLP. As new influenza strains emerge, Novavax's technology allows HA and NA to be engineered to match strains recommended by US and world health regulatory authorities and then combined with a universal M1 protein.

Novavax has identified an M1 protein that efficiently forms VLPs from multiple influenza strains, including the human A and B strains that are currently responsible for the disease worldwide. This process promotes rapid and efficient production of VLPs that have a more uniform shape and size, which Novavax believes will add to the consistency and safety of its vaccines.

‘Our VLP technology overcomes a major limitation of the current influenza virus vaccine technology that depends on strain selection and optimisation every year,’ said Dr Gale Smith, vice president of vaccine development at Novavax and one of the senior inventors of the VLP technology. ‘It enables faster production of vaccine for the target influenza strain than the existing, egg-based process which resulted in significant delays in the manufacture of vaccines during the 2009 H1N1 pandemic emergency.’

‘This patent strengthens our competitive position around our core technology that allows us to produce recombinant influenza VLP vaccines,’ added Novavax president and ceo Dr Rahul Singhvi.

Novavax is committed to using its VLP technology to create country-specific vaccine solutions. The company has formed a joint venture with Cadila Pharmaceuticals, named CPL Biologicals, to develop and manufacture vaccines, biological therapeutics and diagnostics in India.

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