The Boettcher Foundation announced today that VitriVax will be one of the recipients of a series of grants totaling $1 million for biomedical research to fight COVID-19 and potential future pandemics.
“Colorado has long been home to incredible innovation, so it’s no surprise that we’re seeing an effort like this to support research around our state that could help us address this pandemic,” said Gov. Jared Polis.
As vaccine developers across the globe make great strides in getting a working vaccine against COVID-19 across the regulatory finish line, the challenge that now also needs to be addressed is actually getting those vaccines to the billions of people around the world that will need them. Most vaccines require strict temperature controls to maintain their effectiveness, and often require a follow-on “boost” dose to achieve full immunization.
VitriVax’s vaccine formulation platform addresses both of these challenges by enabling vaccines to be made thermostable up to 70°C (158°F), and the combination of prime and boost doses into a single injection with timed release, eliminating the need for a follow up injection. The platform uses a technology called atomic layer deposition (ALD) to coat the active ingredient in the vaccine with a protective layer of adjuvant (commonly used in vaccines to stimulate immune response). That coating then slowly dissolves to release the dose inside. The current generation of ALD system in use by VitriVax operates at the scale of around 1000 doses per run.
The Boettcher grant, to be shared between VitriVax and the academic lab of VitriVax Co-Founder Ted Randolph at The University of Colorado in Boulder, will be used to build the next generation of pilot-scale ALD system capable of producing 10,000-100,000 doses of vaccines per run, to be ready for use as COVID-19 candidate vaccines begin to emerge over the next 6 to 12 months. The new system will be ready to manufacture thermally stable, single-dose formulations of novel COVID-19 vaccines at the scale required for large human clinical trials.
“Would you rather have to vaccinate billions of people once, or twice? And would you rather have to store those billions of doses at room temperature, or in refrigerators? The VitriVax platform can play a huge role in the success of the global COVID-19 vaccination effort, and this grant will help us prepare for that role,” said VitriVax CEO Matt Raider.
See the full announcement here: https://boettcherfoundation.org/innovationfund/