Vaxxas agrees Nanopatch collaboration with Merck

To develop the vaccine delivery technology for infection and oncology applications

A magnified view of a single microprojection on the Nanopatch from Vaxxas penetrating the skin to enable the delivery of vaccine components to the abundant immune cells immediately below the surface of the skin

Vaxxas, a developer of a novel vaccine delivery technology called Nanopatch, has agreed a research partnership with Merck.

Under the agreement, Merck will pay Vaxxas an undisclosed upfront fee and fund the firm’s research evaluating the potential of using the Nanopatch platform for a Merck vaccine candidate.

Vaxxas could receive additional payments for the development and commercialisation of vaccine candidates for up to two additional fields.

The firm will also be eligible to receive payments upon achievement of development milestones and regulatory approvals by any Merck vaccine candidate that uses the Nanopatch platform, as well as royalties on sales of such Merck products.

The Nanopatch technology platform is a novel approach to improve the performance of existing vaccines and to create new advanced vaccines that achieve greater efficacy and safety.

Vaxxas says application of the Nanopatch to the skin is painless and has been shown in preclinical studies to result in a protective immunogenic response, using as little as one hundredth of the dose required by conventional needle and syringe.

The robust immune response may also enable the reduction or elimination of additives such as adjuvants.

In addition, proprietary dry-coating of vaccine to the Nanopatch may eliminate the need for refrigeration during storage and transportation.

Vaxxas is initially targeting infectious disease and oncology applications.

‘We are pleased to collaborate with Merck, a recognised global leader in vaccines, to apply our technology with their expertise in vaccines research,’ said David Hoey, chief executive of Vaxxas.

‘This collaboration underscores the potential of our Nanopatch platform to effectively deliver advanced vaccines and supports our strategic approach of partnering with leaders in vaccine development.’

The Nanopatch technology originated from Professor Mark Kendall's research group at the Australian Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology at The University of Queensland.

The University of Queensland’s main commercialisation arm, UniQuest, led the initial commercialisation of the Nanopatch technology prior to the creation of Vaxxas in 2011.

Vaxxas is backed by venture capitalists including OneVentures, Brandon Capital, Healthcare Ventures, and the Medical Research Commercialisation Fund.

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