Omicron, Oh My!

Want to know if Omicron, the new COVID-19 variant, becoming ‘more stealth’? Watch our LinkedIn for an update on whether we expect to see the Variant of Concern escaping vaccine-induced immune response. I’ll be posting that on Tuesday Nov 30th.  Hint: T cell epitopes are conserved.

Giving Back for #GIVING Tuesday

This is a very important message! Tomorrow is #GivingTuesday and we want to contribute to your favorite charity! Crazy huh? Well, actually no, it’s a tradition at EpiVax!

EpiVaxers believe in giving back! Over the past 20 years, a significant portion of EpiVax’s revenue has been allocated to charitable foundations, directly (through donated time by employees or by our employee-led charitable giving committee (VaxGivesBack) and by matching employee donations.

So far in 2021, EpiVax and its employees have supported more than twenty non-profit organizations, totaling more than $100,000 (we will post the updated figure at the end of the year). The majority of these locations are located near EpiVax’s HQ in Olneyville, Providence, R.I.

Now, in time for #GivingTuesday, we want to help you and your neighborhood! Do you have a local organization supporting women in STEM, clean energy, immigrant rights, animal welfare, or neighbors in need that you want to donate to?

If you do, then send us your donation record before December 31, and EpiVax will match your donations to double your impact in supporting your community. So let us know where you’ve donated! And don’t forget to check in on whether your company matches also — maybe you can triple your donation!

Aromatherapy? Burkholderia?

Those are two words I never thought I’d use together in a sentence: “aromatherapy” and “Burkholderia”! Multiple cases of melioidosis (the disease caused by Burkholderia pseudomallei infection) were recently reported to the CDC in individuals that had no record of travel to locations where the bacteria is endemic. The CDC then identified the bacteria in an aromatherapy spray used in the homes of the infected. Two of four cases have resulted in fatalities.

Of course, this product was recalled and hopefully won’t harm anyone further, but this incident reminds us why the U.S. government considers this pathogen a biothreat — it can be spread by aerosol and is very deadly if not treated quickly.

Yes, we have a vaccine for that! EpiVax has been designing and testing a vaccine to combat B. pseudomallei infection. And, it may come as no surprise to our readers that this pathogen has “human-like” sequences within its genome that allows it to evade the human immune response. EpiVax researchers are developing immune-engineered versions of B. pseudomallei antigens to produce a more immunogenic vaccine with DTRA funding. In the meantime, may I suggest that you avoid using “jeweled” aromatherapy sprays!

Product Licenses!
Tregitope and Interferon Alpha

Tregitope: This month, EpiVax announced a commercial licensing agreement with Maruho, a pharmaceutical company specializing in dermatology based in Japan, for EpiVax’s patented Tregitope technology. EpiVax will help Maruho to leverage the Tregitope license to enhance their in-house therapeutic development strategies for autoimmune dermatologic conditions and translation to the clinic. Tregitope is still available to license for selected other clinical uses in human and animal autoimmunity or allergy.

New Alpha Interferon: Eduardo Mufarrege and the EpiVax team just published information on a novel IFN-alpha in Clinical Immunology, another successful demonstration of  EpiVax tools!

Since IFNα stimulates innate immunity, having a deimmunized version to co-deliver with antibodies for immuno-oncology indications could be very useful. Let us know if you want to discuss how to access the deimmunized INFα!