Gates Foundation Awards Grants for Polio, MR Delivery Patches

Boston-based life sciences company Vaxess Technologies has announced two grants totaling nearly $6 million from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to develop inactivated polio (IPV) and live attenuated measles rubella (MR) vaccines to be delivered via its innovative vaccine delivery system.

Awarded through the Gates Foundation's Grand Challenges competition, the first grant of nearly $3 million will support the initial development of Vaxess' proprietary MIMIX platform for sustained transdermal delivery of vaccines and immunotherapies. With the goal of lowering barriers to vaccine access by simplifying dosing and administration, alleviating cold chain constraints, and lowering costs, the company will work in the initial phase to develop and manufacture a thermostable IPV microneedle patch.

A second grant of nearly $3 million will support the preclinical development of a resorbable microneedle patch for the delivery of a live attenuated MR vaccine by application to the skin, as opposed to the traditional needle-and-syringe approach. The funds will enable Vaxess to develop a thermostable MR vaccine formulation, fabricate microneedle patches incorporating the stable formulation, and establish a preclinical proof-of-concept in appropriate animal models in support of clinical trials at a later date.

"Vaxess has teamed up with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to develop an innovative technology that will contribute to eradication of polio and prevention of measles and rubella by increasing vaccine access," said Vaxess vice president Livio Valenti. "Products developed with our MIMIX sustained-release vaccine delivery system will have increased product efficacy and will not require refrigeration, facilitating vaccination in resource-poor settings."