Soligenix, Inc., a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company focused on developing biodefense medical countermeasures (MCMs), announced that they have submitted a full contract proposal to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), Division of Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, for the advanced development of RiVax™, a vaccine MCM candidate against ricin. A multi-year, multi-million dollar grant could be awarded when the proposal is successfully accepted. The study is in collaboration with the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center (UTSW).
Ricin, a protein found in the beans of the castor plant, is second in toxicity only to botulinum toxin, and it kills an individual in 3 to 5 days after exposure to lethal doses. Currently there are no FDA-approved therapeutics or vaccines for the protection from ricin.
RiVax™ contains a genetically altered part of ricin that inactivates the toxicity of the ricin morelule and the Phase 1 clinical trials showed its efficacy to eliminate the toxicity of ricin. By adding ThermoVax™ alum-adjuvant, RiVax™ could be stable even out of cold environment, which could cut huge cost for setting cold chain for production, transportation and strage.
“We are pleased to submit our proposal to NIAID, who has been the main supporter of our thermostable ricin toxin vaccine development since its inception,” said Christopher J. Schaber, PhD, President and Chief Executive Officer of Soligenix. “Although there are no guarantees, we believe that the combination of our ricin toxin vaccine, RiVax™ and our ThermoVax™ heat stabilization platform technology aligns well with the mission objectives of NIAID. In addition, our organizational structure and experience allows Soligenix to be a valuable strategic partner for NIAID, as well as with the other agencies we currently work with.”