InteliSpark client Versatope Therapeutics, Inc. has been awarded $225,000 by the National Institution of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIH) for the research project “Universal Influenza Vaccine”. Their project will focus on development of recombinant outer membrane vesicle (rOMV) strains capable of protection against pandemic influenza, with projected advancements for a larger scale.
Versatope is in the works of developing a universal vaccine that addresses the limitations of current pandemic and seasonal flu vaccines. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has estimated the current economic impact of seasonal influenza to range from $10 to $16 billion and the pandemic influenza to range from $71.3 to $166.5 billion, in the United States alone. Their research and developments will increase the range of protection and reduce the overall economic impact.
The OMV vaccine delivery is a significant advancement because it has been genetically engineered to detoxify lipopolysaccharide (LPS) more than 100-fold and increase OMV formation more than 30-fold, compared to the current parental strain of pro-biotic bacteria. The societal impact and commercial opportunity is also displayed by a test of the model, which concluded a 50% reduction in infection, hospitalization and death rates.
They are developing a unique influenza M2e antigen construct, that will be capable of protecting against all strains of influenza. It has already shown significant improvement over the traditional vaccine candidates, with lower reactogenicity and inflammatory responses. Their research will continue to develop new rOMV strains with the capability of protection against influenza, focusing on large scale commercial production.