Exxell BIO, with offices in St. Paul and Rochester, Minnesota, is part of a new consortium formed to prepare and test a vaccine formulation designed to protect against the Ebola, Sudan, Marburg, and Lassa fever viruses. Exxell BIO worked with Thomas Jefferson University (TJU) in the development of a TJU-led consortium for this major vaccine program. The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has made an initial award of approximately $2.6 million to Thomas Jefferson University with further funding of up to a total of $30 million available over the course of the contract if all contract options are exercised. This five-year contract, with the goal of completing a Phase 1 clinical trial of the tetravalent vaccine, will be funded by NIAID under Contract No. HHSN272201700082C.
Another primary goal of the project is to develop and test the first vaccine to induce protection against four hemorrhagic fever viruses (Ebola, Sudan, Marburg and Lassa fever), which can damage blood vessels, cause internal bleeding and result in high mortality rates, as seen in the West African Ebola outbreak.
“Our approach is to create a broad scope of coverage with a tetravalent vaccine—one that covers four of these deadly viral diseases,” says Principal Investigator Matthias Schnell, Ph.D., Professor and Chair of Microbiology and Immunology and Director of the Jefferson Vaccine Center at the Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University. The tetravalent vaccine will also have the added advantage of protecting against the deadly rabies virus. Since the vaccine will be an inactivated, or killed, virus formulation, it cannot cause infection. The tetravalent vaccine represents a commercial market opportunity due to the global concerns of the possible spread of these highly infectious diseases. Future protection may be available for not only the general populations in Africa, but also healthcare providers, first responders, laboratory workers, military personnel, and expatriates working in at risk countries in Africa.
Dr. Len Ruiz, CEO and Founder of Exxell BIO, said, “this novel vaccine also represents a significant humanitarian opportunity to not only protect all of the at-risk populations but those that are especially vulnerable to an Ebola outbreak in Africa, including pregnant women, young children and immune-compromised individuals. Exxell BIO, as the exclusive licensee of the technology, working with the nonprofit International Medica Foundation, is committed to ensuring that the vaccine will be affordable to all in need.”
Scott Rosenow, also a Founder of Exxell BIO, added, “This consortium is contributing significant expertise in vaccine development to this project. Ultimately, it is hoped that more biotech-related development, including vaccines, can occur in Minnesota, which currently is one of the leading medical device areas of the country. Developing more biotech products in Minnesota would lead to a larger and more diversified medical products industry in the state.”
In addition to TJU, the NIH and Exxell BIO, the project team is composed of representatives from IDT Biologika GmbH, one of the world’s leading vaccine manufacturers, to develop the commercial scale manufacturing process and manufacture the vaccine; the Infectious Disease Research Institute (IDRI) a Seattle-based not-for-profit organization committed to applying innovative science to the research and development of vaccines, and Immune Design, a Seattle-based biosciences company working with IDRI, to develop the adjuvant component that will boost the vaccine’s potency; and the US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID), together with The Geneva Foundation, to evaluate the safety and efficacy of the completed vaccine prior to human use.
About Exxell BIO, Inc.: Exxell BIO, Inc. was formed as a for-profit company separate from the non-profit International Medica Foundation to have a focus on the global commercial market for vaccines. The International Medica Foundation, a Minnesota non-profit foundation, and Exxell BIO have similar focuses in the vaccine field and continue to work together. Exxell has an exclusive license to the patented rabies/Ebola/Sudan/Marburg vaccine technology developed at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID)/National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Thomas Jefferson University (TJU).
About Thomas Jefferson University: Thomas Jefferson University is a private university in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States. Its Medical School is the Sidney Kimmel Medical College. The Principal Investigator of this contract is Matthias Schnell, Ph.D., Professor and Chair of Microbiology and Immunology and Director of the Jefferson Vaccine Center at the Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University.
About IDT Biologika GmbH: IDT Biologika, headquartered in Dessau-Rosslau, Germany, is an innovative, privately-held life science company with more than 94 years of expertise in Research, Development and Manufacturing of biologics and vaccines for the global protection of humans and animals.
About The Infectious Disease Research Institute: The Infectious Disease Research Institute (IDRI) is a Seattle-based not-for-profit organization committed to applying innovative science to the research and development of products to prevent, detect, and treat infectious diseases. For more information, visit www.idri.org.
About United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases: USAMRIID’s mission is to provide leading edge medical capabilities to deter and defend against current and emerging biological threat agents. Research conducted at USAMRIID leads to medical solutions— vaccines, drugs, diagnostics, and information—that benefit both military personnel and civilians. For more information, visit www.usamriid.army.mil
About The Geneva Foundation: The Geneva Foundation (Geneva) is a 501c3 non-profit organization headquartered in Tacoma, WA. Established in 1993, Geneva advances military medicine by delivering full-spectrum scientific, technical, and program management expertise in the areas of federal grants, industry-sponsored clinical trials, federal contracts, and event management. Please visit www.genevaUSA.org for more information.