Southampton researchers are working with Stablepharma Ltd to trial vaccines that don’t need to be kept cold.
The partners have been awarded a joint grant by Innovate UK to develop a fridge-free vaccine, SPVX02, to prevent tetanus and diphtheria.
Tetanus remains an important public health problem where immunisation coverage is low. Several countries in the world still do not provide booster shots to protect their populations throughout life.
One barrier that can limit some vaccines’ reach is the complex logistics of an international, temperature-controlled supply chain.
Professor Saul Faust, Director of the NIHR Southampton Clinical Research Facility, will lead the clinical trials for the fridge-free vaccine.
Prof Faust, Co-Lead for Microbiology, Immunology and Infection in the NIHR Southampton Biomedical Research Centre, said:
‘’This project’s success has tremendous potential for eradicating vaccine wastage and moving away from the need for the cold-chain. This will have huge benefits that will ultimately provide greater safety and effectiveness for vaccines.’’
Expanding the reach of vaccines
Stablepharma uses its novel technology to convert existing approved vaccines to fridge-free versions. The vaccines they create are ‘stable’ and do not degrade at room temperature.
This prevents the need for cold-chain transport, distribution and storage. The company have identified up to 60 vaccines that could be made fridge-free in this way.
They hope this will dramatically increase the number of people across the world who can access these vaccines, protecting them against a wide range of preventable diseases.
Responding to the new funding success, Özgür Tuncer, Stablepharma CEO & Executive Director, said: “This is a great endorsement of the work our R&D team are doing to achieve Stablepharma’s vision of making fridge-free vaccines a reality. As we know, there are vast challenges within the global cold chain, which hinder the efficient distribution and storage of vaccines.”
Stablepharma recently announced plans for a pre-initial public offering (IPO) bridge-funding round later in 2023. This will progress the launch of SPVX02 (Td), a second fridge-free vaccine SPVX06 (Tetanus mono) and their mRNA research programme.