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Monkeypox, Avian Influenza and Q Fever, Oh My! 

Before getting to other news, we share your sorrow and horror over the lives lost in Texas this week and agree that common sense gun legislation is long overdue in the USA. EpiVax team members are appalled and saddened by the loss of children’s lives. Parents among us are afraid for their children and we, at EpiVax, collectively pledge to work for gun legislation change going forward.

In  other news, what some have called an outbreak of “FearPorn“, MonkeyPox cases have been reported in the US and in Europe. May I suggest reading this interview with Andrea McCollum from the CDC’s poxvirus epidemiology team if you want more information. The good news?  Yes, there are vaccines for Monkeypox, and, of course, we can always improve on them. Indeed, EpiVax has already developed a vaccine called VennVax, a T cell driven PoxVirus vaccine. It had a 100% efficacy in a live challenge study! Please reach out to us if you wish to produce it GMP!

While we’re talking about Emerging Infectious Diseases, on the Avian Influenza front, Lenny Moise, Director of Vaccine Development at EpiVax, just published on our “immune-engineered” H7N9 vaccine. In partnership with Ted Ross at the University of Georgia. We modified the H7N9 hemagglutinin (HA) sequence to be more immunogenic by neutralizing a regulatory T cell epitopeOur release on poxviruses and avian influenza(H7N9) can be found here! These are just a few of the vaccines we designed to harness the power of T cells for lasting immunity, and the focus of our work over two decades.

Our Q Fever vaccine has also cleared “proof of concept” (see press release with Mass General Hospital). This T cell-epitope-driven vaccine could be a significant improvement over the existing vaccine (Q-VAX in the case of Q Fever). As Dr. Ann Sluder (MGH) mentions in the release, ““The novel T cell-targeted vaccine is designed to stimulate disease-preventing immunity in humans while also avoiding the acute reactions that have prevented wider approval of the inactivated vaccine.”

Watch this space, there is more to come! Our vaccine team is rapidly designing new T cell driven vaccines for future pandemics, and we look forward to getting some of these candidates into the clinic soon!

Did you know? Small Molecules have HCPs too!

If you’ve been reading the blog over the past couple years, you’ll know that EpiVax has been getting quite a lot of requests to investigate Host Cell Proteins (HCP) impurities. In fact, we have a free webinar on this topic next week!

HCPs can be a source of un-wanted/un-expected immunogenicity during process development and manufacturing. There is a great new paper out from Vibha Jawa and her former colleagues at Merck on HCP risk for a small molecule drug candidate. The authors bring the point home by doing a deep dive on MK-1454, which is produced using E. Coli.

Check out the paper here!

Successful Tregitope Summit

The Annual Tregitope Summit was in person! We gathered a nice group of Regulatory T cell experts at the Westin in the Boston’s Seaport District last Monday to share the latest research and foster ideas.

Tregs can be used to induce/activate a regulatory immune response OR the cells themselves can be the therapeutic. And there are many applications for this promising new technology. We heard a lot about the potential in Allergy and Automimmunity from our colleagues at McGill University and the University of Utrecht. Plus, Nadia Tchao at Amgen is doing some fascinating work in SLE. Were you planning on attending but missed it? You can request the available recorded talks from Riley Nolan! More to come on this topic soon! And stay tuned for 2023 seminar details!

It’s our Birthday (again!) Join the Party!

The BIO conference is back in person after three years of virtual! Now THAT’S something to celebrate! Plus, we’re kicking off our 25th year, and there will be cake! Will you be in San Diego June 13-16th Come to our Epi-Party @ Bio and join the crew (Myself, Katie Porter, Sarah Moniz).  We are looking forward to partnering activities and reconnecting with old friends. Save the Date here if you’d like to join us!Did you miss this month’s newsletter? Sign-up here

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