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BIOBOARD - UNITED STATES
Combination vaccine for ricin and anthrax achieves simultaneous protection milestone
A combination vaccine by the biotechnology company Soligenix comprising of a combination of RiVax™ and VeloThrax™ has been found to induce protective immunity to both ricin toxin and anthrax toxin exposure. RiVax™ is Soligenix’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. VeloThrax™ is the candidate vaccine that employs a derivative of recombinant protective antigen, termed Dominant Negative Inhibitor (DNI), which is a candidate for inclusion in a next generation anthrax vaccine.

When administered as a single vaccine, each vaccine induced antibodies that were capable of neutralizing the toxin from which the vaccine had been derived. VeloThrax™ induced neutralizing antibodies against anthrax toxin and RiVax™ induced antibodies against ricin toxin. When combined, the dual vaccine induced antibodies that were reactive against both toxins and these neutralizing antibodies were detected until at least 200 days after the immunization regimens. Consequently, the combined vaccination provided protection to exposure to both ricin toxin and anthrax toxin that persisted for at least six months after 2 vaccinations, suggesting that long-term immunity upon simultaneous vaccination can be achieved.

Soligenix performed these studies in collaboration with the Wadsworth Institute of the New York State Department of Health, with Dr. Nicolas J. Mantis, Dr. David Vance and collaborators under the aegis of a $9.4 million cooperative grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). The potency of the vaccine combination was demonstrated in preclinical studies evaluating both production of antibody levels and survival after toxin challenge.

"We are pleased that we have been able to show that the combination of vaccines for these two very important biothreats can be accomplished. The demonstration of simultaneous immunity to ricin toxin and anthrax is a step towards multivalent vaccines that can be used in the event of a national emergency," stated Christopher J. Schaber, PhD, President and Chief Executive Officer of Soligenix. "Both of these vaccines are being developed for military personnel and emergency first responders, and thus it would be extremely useful if the vaccines could be administered simultaneously without compromising the response to either vaccine, while still providing protection against whichever toxin might be encountered. Multivalent vaccines will achieve more efficient vaccination with fewer injections; this has the potential to be a distinct advantage in deployment of vaccines if any biothreat agent is actually used as a weapon."

Source: PR Newswire

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