Soligenix (OTCQB:SNGX) shares extended their year-to-date gains on Wednesday after the biopharmaceutical company announced that it has been granted a U.S. patent for its Thermovax vaccine thermostabilization technology.
The company, which is focused on developing products to treat inflammatory diseases and biodefense countermeasures, says the patent claims encompass composition of matter and methods for the technology, which is exclusively licensed to Soligenix by the University of Colorado.
For vaccines that are intended for long-term stockpiling, such as for use in biodefense or in pandemic situations, Soligenix has said that the use of ThermoVax, which has been tested in combination with the company's RiVax and VeloThrax vaccines, can lead to easier storage and the distribution of strategic national stockpile vaccines in emergency situations.
This is because the technology allows the production of thermostable vaccines that do not require storage at refrigerated temperatures.
The patent claims granted Wednesday describe methods of preparing an "immunologically-active adjuvant-bound", thermostable, freeze dried vaccine composition, in which the vaccine uses conventional adjuvants comprised of aluminum salts, the company said.
It added that aluminum salts are commonly used as adjuvants in many vaccines, including those administered to children.
ThermoVax was developed specifically to overcome the problems that are encountered with freeze-drying vaccines that contain aluminum adjuvants while simultaneously engineering them to withstand extremes of temperature.
"The granting of the thermostabilization patent is a significant milestone for the ThermoVax program and is a critical component in our commercialization strategy for vaccines that can avoid the increased costs and logistical burdens associated with cold chain storage and distribution," said president and CEO, Christopher J. Schaber, in the release Wednesday.
"We expect that the introduction of an effective technology for long-term stabilization of vaccines has the potential to be a major advance in the national effort to develop effective countermeasures and therapies for significant biothreats and emerging pathogens."
Schaber also said the company has initiated discussions with "a number" of vaccine companies and non-profit organizations regarding the potential for collaboration on heat-stable versions of their vaccine candidates.
Soligenix is also working to advance its biotherapeutics business, where it is set to start a phase 2 randomized, double blind, placebo-controlled study of SGX942 - its lead compound - for oral mucositis in head and neck cancer patients in the second half of this year. In phase 1 trials, it was shown to reduce the severity and duration of oral mucositis and induce anti-inflammatory activity.
Shares of the company were trading at $1.21 early Wednesday, with its shares more than doubling year-to-date.
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