South SF-based Biotech Releases Positive Preclinical Data for its Oral COVID-19 Vaccine Candidate

South SF-based Biotech Releases Positive Preclinical Data for its Oral COVID-19 Vaccine Candidate

A clinical-stage biotech company called Vaxart, Inc. reported positive pre-clinical results for its COVID-19 vaccine candidates, with several of the vaccine candidates generating immune responses in all tested animals after a single dose. The company’s investigational vaccine products are administered via tablet rather than by injection.

Background

In January 2020, the company commenced a program to develop a COVID-19 vaccine based on its VAAST™ oral vaccines platform. The Company has been investigating multiple candidates in preclinical models. In the first round of preclinical testing, all animals that received one of the Vaxart vaccines had IgG anti SARS CoV-2 antibodies in serum two weeks after the first vaccination. Antibody responses in all vaccinated groups were statistically significant compared to the untreated controls. The company now will select one or more vaccine candidates for cGMP manufacturing and clinical testing based on the magnitude and the breadth of the immune response.

Contracts for Vaccine Manufacturing

By March 18, 2020 Vaxart inked a manufacturing agreement with Emergent BioSolutions Inc. (“Emergent”) for development services to prepare for cGMP production of an oral COVID-19 vaccine. The first stage of the collaboration commenced and should Vaxart move forward with cGMP manufacturing, Emergent will produce bulk cGMP vaccine in time to support the Phase I study during the second half of 2020.

Who is Vaxart?

Founded in 2004, Vaxart is a clinical-stage biotechnology company primarily focused on developing oral recombinant protein vaccines based on its proprietary oral vaccine platform. Vaxart’s vaccines are designed to generate broad and durable immune responses that protect against a wide range of infectious diseases and may also be useful for the treatment of chronic viral infections and cancer. Vaxart’s vaccines are administered using a convenient room temperature-stable tablet, rather than by injection. Vaxart believes that tablet vaccines are easier to distribute and administer than injectable vaccines and have the potential to significantly increase vaccination rates. Vaxart’s development programs include oral tablet vaccines that are designed to protect against coronavirus, norovirus, seasonal influenza and respiratory syncytial virus (“RSV”), as well as a therapeutic vaccine for human papillomavirus (“HPV”).

Publicly traded at $3.16 per share ($167.6m market cap), the company forecasts a loss of about $7 million on $9 million in revenue. The company employs about 25 and is based in South San Francisco, CA.