NEW YORK, July 19, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) – Voltron Therapeutics, Inc. today announced that the Company’s Scientific Co-Founder, Dr. Mark C. Poznansky’s guest essay titled “The Vaccines We Have Are Good. But They Could Be So Much Better”, was published in the New York Times on June 10, 2021.
Dr. Mark C. Poznansky serves as Director of the Vaccine and Immunotherapy Center (VIC) and Physician at Massachusetts General Hospital and an Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Poznansky also serves as a scientific founder for Voltron Therapeutics, helping to advise on the early clinical research and implementation of testing in the clinical setting among other things.
In the essay, Dr. Poznansky and his colleague Dr. Michael V. Callahan discuss the impressive, ongoing efforts to get a safe, effective vaccine broadly into the population, as well as the remaining need for new vaccines that address the evolution of variants that can overcome the immunity provided by existing COVID-19 vaccines and/or prior infections.
As a Scientific Co-Founder of Voltron Therapeutics, Dr. Poznansky has been instrumental in the development of HaloVax™, a Self-Assembling Vaccine (SAV) against COVID-19. HaloVax may not only prevent disease, but may offer safe administration with a strong, broad immune response, specifically designed to be applicable to emerging viral targets, such as COVID-19 and its variants. Importantly, HaloVax™ is designed with safety as its top priority to avoid known vaccine adverse effects, including excessive local response or inappropriate immune response. Other vaccine approaches, in many cases, simply provoke the immune system to target an aspect of the COVID-19 virus, namely the spike protein, and then only as it appeared in the original pandemic outbreak in 2019. HaloVax is a flexible system for evoking a broad range of immune responses against a virus – simultaneously training the immune system to target several proteins contained with the virus that can be readily modified to rapidly address newly evolving variants. The need for second generation vaccine platforms like HaloVax is increasing, given the rise of the Delta variant and the inevitable rise of further variants that are evolving to evade the first-generation vaccines.
The vaccine is built on a base of a heat shock protein (HSP70)-Avidin fusion protein that activates the cellular component of the immune system; this is different from most other vaccine efforts, which have used adjuvants such as alum. The second portion of the vaccine consists of virus targeting peptides derived from our understanding of the COVID-19 structure, which are bound to the heat shock protein via Biotin. This enables rapid iteration and up-to-date, data informed, changes in the peptide sequences to enable swift production and accommodate potential changes in the pathogen itself. The selected immunogenic peptides complete the customized COVID-19 vaccine.
Voltron Therapeutics previously announced positive data from its second set of preclinical animal testing of its COVID-19 vaccine. This study investigated an updated peptide construct, based on initial testing as well as recent scientific developments, in order to identify the best balance of immune responses for prevention of this pandemic pathogen.
The study consisted of a full near GLP preclinical mouse study evaluating whether the self- assembling vaccine, consisting of the immune activating MTBhsp70-Avidin component and antigen targeting biotinylated immunogenic peptides, increased the immune response relative to controls or peptides alone.
Results demonstrated that the self-assembling vaccine construct did indeed significantly increase both helper and cytotoxic T cell responses to the vaccine targeted antigens compared to controls. This proof of concept for the SAV platform is critical to the COVID-19 program, additional infectious disease targets as well as the oncology applications of this cutting-edge technology. HaloVax is being developed in conjunction with Hoth Therapeutics, Inc (NASDAQ: HOTH).
“We remain optimistic that our recent successful preclinical testing will rapidly lead to clinical trials in humans and bring us closer to a safe, broad acting, effective, and durable vaccine to help prevent disease caused by COVID-19 and future variants. Our discovery and operating teams have placed us on the cutting edge of vaccine development, leveraging our platform technology to create vaccines in a more rapid and adaptable manner,” said Pat Gallagher, Chief Executive Officer, Voltron Therapeutics, Inc.
About Voltron Therapeutics, Inc.
Voltron Therapeutics, Inc., a Delaware corporation, was founded in 2017 to lead and accelerate the development of the Vaccine and Immunotherapy Center (VIC), and the Massachusetts General Hospital’s novel Self Assembling Vaccine technology in a variety of indications, including in Oncology and emerging Infectious Diseases. Voltron holds an exclusive worldwide license to this technology. With the work of our world class team of researchers and physicians, this technology has shown in certain pre-clinical studies initial proof of concept in two infectious diseases (Lassa Fever and Q Fever) as well as two oncology indications (Ovarian and HPV Related Cancers). For more information please visit www.voltrontx.com.
About HaloVax™, LLC
HaloVax, LLC is a special purpose subsidiary of Voltron Therapeutics, Inc. in joint venture with Hoth Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ: HOTH) The mission of HaloVax is to develop a novel, Self-Assembling Vaccine against COVID-19, utilizing technology licensed by Voltron Therapeutics, Inc. from the Vaccine and Immunotherapy Center at the Massachusetts General Hospital. The vaccine is being designed from a validated platform to provide customized T cell immunity against COVID-19, as well as be able to adapt rapidly to potential genetic drift of the virus. For more information, please visit www.HaloVax.com.
About Hoth Therapeutics, Inc.
Hoth Therapeutics, Inc. is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on developing new generation therapies for dermatological disorders. Hoth’s pipeline has the potential to improve the quality of life for patients suffering from indications including atopic dermatitis, chronic wounds, psoriasis, asthma and acne. To learn more, please visit www.hoththerapeutics.com.
Forward Looking Statements
This press release includes “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements in this press release include, but are not limited to, statements that relate to the advancement and development of the VaxCelerate Platform, the commencement of clinical trials, the availability of data from clinical trials and other information that is not historical information. When used herein, words such as “anticipate”, “being”, “will”, “plan”, “may”, “continue”, and similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements. In addition, any statements or information that refer to expectations, beliefs, plans, projections, objectives, performance or other characterizations of future events or circumstances, including any underlying assumptions, are forward-looking. All forward-looking statements are based upon Voltron’s current expectations and various assumptions. Voltron believes there is a reasonable basis for its expectations and beliefs, but they are inherently uncertain. Voltron may not realize its expectations, and its beliefs may not prove correct. Actual results could differ materially from those described or implied by such forward-looking statements as a result of various important factors, including, without limitation, market conditions and any Voltron filings made with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Consequently, forward-looking statements should be regarded solely as Voltron’s current plans, estimates and beliefs. Investors should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements. Voltron cannot guarantee future results, events, levels of activity, performance or achievements. Voltron does not undertake and specifically declines any obligation to update, republish, or revise any forward-looking statements to reflect new information, future events or circumstances or to reflect the occurrences of unanticipated events, except as may be required by law.
Voltron Therapeutics, Inc.
Voltron Therapeutics, Inc.