PROVIDENCE, RI, February 17, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — EpiVax, Inc. (“EpiVax”) today announces its participation in the INDIGO consortium – a partnership of public and private research and development organizations from the EU, India, and United States (funded by the EU and India) with the aim of developing next-generation influenza vaccines with better responsiveness, lower costs, and better accessibility.
The INDIGO consortium, led by Dr. Remko van Leeuwen (INDIGO’s Principal Investigator) of the Amsterdam Institute for Global Health and Development (“AIGHD”), plans to achieve this goal by exploring innovative influenza vaccine concepts. The group will aim to produce novel seasonal (A and B) and avian flu (H7N9 and H5N1) vaccines by combining three cutting-edge elements: novel recombinant HAs with increased immunogenicity, a potent adjuvant, and delivery via needle-free intradermal patches. The consortium will seek to validate this approach by showing preclinical immunogenicity and safety, and GMP manufacture to ready a vaccine for Phase I clinical trial.
EpiVax will be applying its computational vaccinology expertise in this effort, combining proprietary immunoinformatics approaches and structural modeling methods (in collaboration with Dr. Celia Schiffer of UMass Medical School) to design optimized antigens for inclusion in seasonal and pandemic recombinant HA vaccine candidates. These novel antigens will be precisely engineered by scientists at EpiVax to avoid regulatory T cell (Treg) induction and to promote recruitment of broadly reactive seasonal influenza HA-specific memory CD4+ T cells to boost protective antibody responses while maintaining neutralizing antibody epitopes that would be encountered in natural infection with wild-type HA. This work will be accomplished using the company’s exclusive immunoinformatics tools, including EpiMatrix, ClustiMer, and JanusMatrix, contained in the iVAX toolkit, an approach which has been validated in EpiVax’s successful H7N9 immune engineering work performed in collaboration with Dr. Ted Ross of the University of Georgia (“UGA”).
EpiVax will operate in the initial antigen design phase, and then provide the optimized sequences to ExpreS2ion Biotechnologies for development of recombinant antigens. Recombinant antigens will be passed on to the Institut National de la Sante et de la Recherche Medicale (“INSERM”), whose scientists, led by Dr. Jagadeesh Bayry, will test the optimized antigens in human donor materials and advanced laboratory models, such as humanized mice, to provide validation of the preclinical immunogenicity and safety of the vaccine candidates.
EpiVax’s Director of Vaccine Research, Dr. Lenny Moise said, “We are pleased to participate in the INIDGO consortium. EpiVax has spearheaded the computational vaccinology research space for over twenty years, identifying innovative techniques to improve vaccine antigen design, and we are looking forward to applying our expertise in pursuit of safer and more effective flu vaccines.”
EpiVax is a biotechnology company with expertise in T cell epitope prediction, immune modulation, and rapid vaccine design. EpiVax’s immunogenicity screening toolkits for therapeutics and vaccines, ISPRI and iVAX, are employed in advancing the research of a global roster of companies.
For more information about EpiVax, visit www.epivax.com.
Katie Porter, Business Development Manager
Source: EpiVax, Inc.