Historical Press Releases
Soligenix Announces Presentation and Poster at the 2015 Chemical and Biological Defense Science and Technology Conference in St. Louis, MO
Princeton, NJ – May 4, 2015 – Soligenix, Inc. (OTCQB: SNGX) (Soligenix or the Company), a late-stage biopharmaceutical company developing products that address unmet medical needs in the areas of inflammation, oncology and biodefense, announced today that it will be presenting preclinical data from three of its biodefense programs at the upcoming Chemical and Biological Defense Science and Technology Conference on May 12-14, 2015 to be held at the America’s Center Convention Complex at 701 Convention Plaza, St. Louis MO 63101.
The presented results will address recent preclinical efficacy findings in three programs, including:
- SGX943 in the treatment of antibiotic resistant infections including melioidosis,
- RiVax™, a proprietary thermostable ricin toxin vaccine, in an inhalational model of ricin intoxication, and
- VeloThrax™, a proprietary thermostable anthrax toxin vaccine.
SGX943 is based on Soligenix’s SGX94 technology, an Innate Defense Regulator, which enhances the anti-infective activity of the innate immune system while modulating inflammation. Since SGX943 does not directly target the bacteria, it is unlikely to engender resistance and is complementary with current antibiotic regimens.
RiVax™ is the Company’s candidate vaccine for the prevention of exposure to ricin toxin using a unique antigen that is completely devoid of the toxic activity of ricin. When formulated with Soligenix’s proprietary ThermoVax™ technology, RiVax™ has demonstrated significantly enhanced thermostability and 100% protection in preclinical aerosol challenge models.
VeloThrax™ is the Company’s candidate vaccine for the prevention of exposure to anthrax using the Dominant Negative Inhibitor (DNI) of the recombinant protective antigen (rPA) of anthrax. When formulated with Soligenix’s proprietary ThermoVax™ technology, VeloThrax™ has demonstrated significantly enhanced thermostability and compatibility with secondary adjuvants such as TLR-4 agonists, facilitating more rapid onset of immunity.
Preclinical studies for SGX943, RiVax™, and VeloThrax™ were supported by grant awards from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).
- Innate Defense Regulators as Adjunctive Treatments for Antibiotic Resistant Infections presented by Dr. Oreola Donini, Chief Scientific Officer, Soligenix, Inc., on May 14, 2015 from 11:20-11:40 AM EDT, Room 230. The abstract is available at: http://cbdst15.mapyourshow.com/6_0/sessions/session-details.cfm?ScheduleID=87
- Thermostable Subunit Vaccine Results in Protective Immunity in Rhesus Macaques in an Inhalational Ricin Model attended by Dr. Chad Roy, Director, Infectious Disease Aerobiology, Tulane National Primate Research Center, Associate Professor of Microbiology & Immunology, Tulane School of Medicine on May 12, 2015 from 6:00-8:00 PM EDT. The abstract is available at: http://cbdst15.mapyourshow.com/6_0/exhibitor/exhibitor-details.cfm?ExhID=4302
- Stability, Efficacy and Immunogenicity of a Third Generation Heat-Stable Anthrax Subunit Vaccine attended by Dr. Oreola Donini, Chief Scientific Officer, Soligenix, Inc., on May 12, 2015 from 6:00-8:00 PM EDT. The abstract is available at: http://cbdst15.mapyourshow.com/6_0/exhibitor/exhibitor-details.cfm?ExhID=4260
About Chemical and Biological Defense Science and Technology (CBD S&T) Conference
The CBD S&T Research Conference is a forum for discussion between individuals conducting research to defend against bioterrorism and with the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA). Areas of specific interest include disease surveillance, characterization and point of need diagnostics, adaptive medical therapeutics and technology, rapid response and recovery science and technology and threat activity sensing and reporting. The conference offers business, learning and networking opportunities in the biodefense arena.
For more information about the 2015 CBD S&T conference, please refer to the conference website at http://www.cbdstconference.com/home.aspx#home.
Melioidosis is a potentially fatal infection caused by the Gram-negative bacillus, Burkholderia pseudomallei (Bps). Highly resistant to many antibiotics, Bps can cause an acute disease characterized by a fulminant pneumonia and a chronic condition that can recrudesce. There is no preventive vaccine or effective immunotherapy for melioidosis. Therefore, there is a significant medical need for improved prevention and therapy.
Bps and the closely related Burkholderia mallei (Bm) are considered possible biological warfare agents by the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) because of the potential for widespread dissemination through aerosol. Bps is classified as a Tier 1 biothreat and a category B priority pathogen by the NIAID and is a top 5 priority in the most recent Public Health Emergency Medical Countermeasure Enterprise (PHEMCE) Strategy document.
Bps infection (melioidosis) is a major public health concern in the endemic regions of Southeast Asia and Northern Australia. Moreover, the organism has a worldwide distribution and the full extent of global spread is likely underestimated. Bps activity is seen in Southeast Asia, South America, Africa, the Middle East, India, and Northern Australia. The highest pockets of disease activity occur in Northern Australia and Northeast Thailand, Burma and Vietnam, and is likely under-reported in China. In Northeast Thailand, the mortality rate associated with Bps infection is over 40%, making it the third most common cause of death from infectious disease in that region after HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis.
SGX943 is the drug product designation for the active ingredient SGX94 in the treatment of melioidosis. SGX94 is an IDR, a new class of short, synthetic peptides that has a novel mechanism of action in that it has simultaneous anti-inflammatory and anti-infective activity. IDRs have no direct antibiotic activity but modulate host responses, increasing survival after infections with a broad range of bacterial Gram-negative and Gram-positive pathogens, as well as accelerating resolution of tissue damage following exposure to a variety of agents including bacterial pathogens, trauma and chemo- and/or radiation-therapy. SGX94 has demonstrated safety in a Phase 1 clinical study in healthy human volunteers and efficacy in numerous animal disease models including mucositis, colitis, skin infection and other bacterial infections. SGX94 and related analogs have a strong intellectual property position, including composition of matter. SGX94 was developed pursuant to discoveries made by Professors B. Brett Finlay, PhD and Robert Hancock, PhD of the University of British Columbia, Canada and approximately $40 million has been put towards its development to date, inclusive of government grants. SGX94, the active ingredient in SGX942, is also in clinical development for the treatment of oral mucositis.
The testing of SGX943 in melioidosis is currently being supported by a NIAID Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant valued at approximately $300,000 over one year.
About Ricin Toxin
Ricin toxin is a plant toxin thought to be a bioterror threat because of its stability and high potency as well as the large worldwide reservoir created as a by-product of castor oil production. Ricin comes in many forms like powder, mist, pill, or pellet. Ricin can also be dissolved in water and other liquids. As a poison, ricin is so potent that the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates the lethal dose in humans is about the size of a grain of salt. Exposure to ricin results in local tissue necrosis and general organ failure leading to death within several days of exposure, and is especially toxic when inhaled. Ricin is a ribosome inactivating protein (RIP) and a potent member of the AB family of toxins. The enzymatic ricin toxin A subunit (RTA) is an RNA-N-glycosidase which cleaves a specific adenine residue with eukaryotic 28S ribosomal RNA, leading to protein synthesis arrest and cell death.
There are currently no effective means to prevent the effects of ricin poisoning. The successful development of an effective vaccine against ricin toxin may act as a deterrent against the actual use of ricin as a biological weapon and could be used in rapid deployment scenarios in the event of a biological attack.
RiVax™ is Soligenix’s proprietary recombinant subunit vaccine developed to protect against exposure to ricin toxin. With RiVax™, Soligenix is a world leader in the area of ricin toxin vaccine research.
RiVax™ contains a genetically altered version of RTA chain containing two mutations that inactivate the toxicity of the ricin molecule. A Phase 1A clinical trial was conducted with a formulation of RiVax™ that did not contain an adjuvant. This trial revealed dose dependent seroconversion as well as lack of toxicity of the molecule when administered intramuscularly to human volunteers. The adjuvant-free formulation of RiVax™ induced toxin neutralizing antibodies that lasted up to 127 days after the third vaccination in several individuals. To increase the longevity and magnitude of toxin neutralizing antibodies, RiVax™ was formulated with an adjuvant of aluminum salts (known colloquially as Alum) for a Phase 1B clinical trial. Alum is an adjuvant that is used in many human vaccines, including most vaccines used in infants. The results of the Phase 1B study indicated that Alum-adjuvanted RiVax™ was safe and well tolerated, and induced greater ricin neutralizing antibody levels in humans than adjuvant-free RiVax™. In preclinical animal studies, the Alum formulation of RiVax™ also induced higher titers and longer lasting antibodies than the adjuvant-free vaccine.
The development of RiVax™ has been sponsored through a series of grants from both NIAID and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which were awarded to Soligenix and to University of Texas Southwestern (UTSW) where the vaccine originated. To date, Soligenix and Dr. Ellen Vitetta and colleagues at UTSW have collectively received approximately $25 million in grant funding from the US government for development of RiVax™ and related vaccine technologies. RiVax™ would potentially be added to the Strategic National Stockpile and dispensed in the event of a terrorist attack. RiVax™ is currently the subject of a contract valued at up to $24.7 million inclusive of options over a period of 6 years and awarded by the US Department of Health and Human Service’s National Institutes of Health (NIH) (specifically funded by NIAID).
Anthrax is an acute infectious disease that is easily transmitted to humans by environmentally durable spores that are produced by gram positive bacterium Bacillus anthracis. Because the spores are robust and contagious, anthrax is considered a Category A bioterror threat. Anthrax infection can occur in three forms: cutaneous (skin), inhalation, and gastrointestinal. Inhaled spores can cause a rapidly progressing form of anthrax since the spores are transported to lymph nodes near the lungs where they germinate, releasing vegetative bacteria into the bloodstream. After infection in the bloodstream, the bacteria secrete a complex series of toxin components that make up anthrax toxin, resulting in overwhelming toxemia that causes shock and organ failure. The toxin component that binds to the surface of cells is Protective Antigen (PA). Antibodies targeting PA can neutralize the secreted toxins, and recombinant PA (rPA) and its derivatives are targets for development of highly purified next generation anthrax vaccines. PA is the major antigen in the currently licensed anthrax vaccine adsorbed (AVA, Biothrax™).
Treatment of anthrax involves long-term antibiotic therapy, since ungerminated spores can lie dormant in the lungs for up to 60 days. Only a few inhaled spores can cause inhalational anthrax. Once the toxin has entered the bloodstream, antibiotics are ineffective, and only toxin-specific therapy is effective. Passively transferred antibodies can neutralize anthrax toxins and can be used post-exposure in conjunction with antibiotics. Because of the long residence time of spores in the lung, it is possible to vaccinate post-exposure, but the onset of neutralizing antibodies must occur during the period of antibiotic therapy.
VeloThrax™ is Soligenix’s proprietary vaccine to prevent exposure to anthrax. VeloThrax™ consists of a hyperimmunogenic derivative, termed DNI (Dominant Negative Inhibitor), of recombinant protective antigen (rPA) that is formulated with adjuvants to induce rapid protective immunity in fewer vaccinations than the currently licensed anthrax vaccine. The DNI vaccine antigen is an analog of rPA containing two mutations that prevent translocation of the anthrax holotoxin into cells, resulting in higher immune responses. It has been shown that animals vaccinated with the DNI antigen induced higher levels of antibodies to toxin and maintained high levels of protective antibody titers for up to one year without booster injections of antigen. The DNI vaccine was originally developed in the laboratory of Dr. John Collier and colleagues at Harvard University and has been developed as a post exposure therapeutic for exposure to anthrax.
Soligenix has obtained an exclusive license with Harvard for the development of DNI as a pre- and post exposure vaccine for anthrax. When combined with ThermoVax™ technology, the DNI vaccine has also shown stability at temperatures as high as 70 degrees Celsius (158 degrees Fahrenheit). The development of VeloThrax™ using the DNI antigen has been sponsored through a NIAID cooperative grant to Soligenix and is a candidate for a next generation anthrax vaccine.
ThermoVax™ is a technology that is designed to eliminate the standard cold chain production, distribution and storage logistics required for most vaccines. Cold chain requirements add considerable cost to the production and storage of current conventional vaccines. According to the Biopharma Cold Chain Sourcebook of 2010, 98% of all vaccines (with a total value of $20.6 billion) require shipment through cold chain. Elimination of the cold chain would also enhance the utility of these vaccines for emerging markets and for other applications requiring but lacking reliable cold chain capabilities. Further, the World Health Organization (WHO) reports that 50% of all global vaccine doses are wasted because they are not kept within required temperature ranges. NIAID has also highlighted the priority of technologies for biodefense vaccines that focus on broad spectrum approaches including vaccine adjuvants and temperature stabilization for long shelf life, rapid onset of immunity, and surge capacity for production. For vaccines that are intended for long-term stockpiling, such as for use in biodefense or in pandemic situations, the utilization of ThermoVax™ has the potential to facilitate easier storage and distribution of Strategic National Stockpile vaccines in emergency situations.
The technology utilizes precise lyophilization of protein immunogens with conventional aluminum adjuvants in combination with secondary adjuvants for rapid onset of protective immunity with the fewest number of vaccinations. RiVax™ is extremely labile in liquid form requiring careful management under refrigerated conditions at 4 degrees Celsius (39 degrees Fahrenheit). By employing ThermoVax™ during their final formulation, it is possible to produce stable and potent vaccines that are capable of withstanding temperatures at least as high as 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) for up to one year.
The underlying technology has been developed by Drs. John Carpenter and Theodore Randolph at the University of Colorado. The vaccine technology has been developed to date in collaboration with SRI International, the University of Kansas, the Wadsworth Center of the New York State Department of Health, and the Tulane National Primate Research Center under the sponsorship of the cooperative grant from NIAID.
About Soligenix, Inc.
Soligenix is a late-stage biopharmaceutical company developing products that address unmet medical needs in the areas of inflammation, oncology and biodefense. Our BioTherapeutics business segment is developing SGX301 as a first-in-class photo-dynamic therapy utilizing safe visible light for the treatment of cutaneous T-cell lymphoma, proprietary formulations of oral beclomethasone 17,21-dipropionate (BDP) for the prevention/treatment of gastrointestinal (GI) disorders characterized by severe inflammation including pediatric Crohn’s disease (SGX203) and acute radiation enteritis (SGX201), and our novel innate defense regulator technology (SGX942) for the treatment of oral mucositis.
Our Vaccines/BioDefense business segment includes active development programs for RiVax™, our ricin toxin vaccine candidate, VeloThrax™, our anthrax vaccine candidate, OrbeShield™, our GI acute radiation syndrome therapeutic candidate and SGX101 and SGX943, our melioidosis therapeutic candidates. The development of our vaccine programs incorporates the use of our proprietary heat stabilization platform technology, known as ThermoVax™. Currently, this business segment is supported with up to $57 million in government grant and contract funding from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA). Additionally, Soligenix has an exclusive worldwide collaboration with Intrexon Corporation (NYSE: XON) focused on the joint development of SGX101 for the treatment for melioidosis.
For further information regarding Soligenix, Inc., please visit the Company’s Website at www.soligenix.com.
This press release may contain forward-looking statements that reflect Soligenix, Inc.’s current expectations about its future results, performance, prospects and opportunities, including but not limited to, potential market sizes, patient populations and clinical trial enrollment. Statements that are not historical facts, such as “anticipates,” “estimates,” “believes,” “intends,” “potential,” or similar expressions, are forward-looking statements. These statements are subject to a number of risks, uncertainties and other factors that could cause actual events or results in future periods to differ materially from what is expressed in, or implied by, these statements. Soligenix cannot assure you that it will be able to successfully develop, achieve regulatory approval for or commercialize products based on its technologies, particularly in light of the significant uncertainty inherent in developing vaccines against bioterror threats conducting preclinical and clinical trials of vaccines, obtaining regulatory approvals and manufacturing vaccines, that product development and commercialization efforts will not be reduced or discontinued due to difficulties or delays in clinical trials or due to lack of progress or positive results from research and development efforts, that it will be able to successfully obtain any further funding to support product development and commercialization efforts, including grants and awards, maintain its existing grants which are subject to performance requirements, enter into any biodefense procurement contracts with the US Government or other countries, that it will be able to compete with larger and better financed competitors in the biotechnology industry, that changes in health care practice, third party reimbursement limitations and Federal and/or state health care reform initiatives will not negatively affect its business, or that the US Congress may not pass any legislation that would provide additional funding for the Project BioShield program. These and other risk factors are described from time to time in filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including, but not limited to, Soligenix’s reports on Forms 10-Q and 10-K. Unless required by law, Soligenix assumes no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements as a result of new information or future events.