Using a skin patch as a needle-free vaccine delivery system has great potential — in the developed world, certainly (less so outside of it). This is certainly a smart match — Merck’s highly-esteemed vaccine-making prowess — with what may well be the next wave in delivery: “nanospears” coated with the vaccine, on an adhesive skin patch. Slap it on, and go.
No pain, and a greatly reduced risk — to all health care workers — from needle sticks and the potential for biohazards more than occasionally transferred thereby.
In addition, Vaxxas this morning named its first CEO — David Hoey, an alum of another Healthcare Ventures investment called Pathogenetix. Healthcare Ventures is an investor in Vaxxas.
From the presser on MarketWire, then:
. . . .The collaboration will evaluate Vaxxas’ proprietary NanopatchTM platform that induces robust immune system activation by targeting vaccine to the abundant immunological cells immediately below the surface of the skin. In addition, Vaxxas has granted Merck an exclusive license for the Nanopatch platform for commercial production of an undisclosed vaccine candidate.
Under the agreement, Merck will pay an upfront fee and will provide funding to Vaxxas to conduct research evaluating the potential of using Vaxxas’ Nanopatch platform for a Merck vaccine candidate. Vaxxas will be eligible to receive additional payments associated with Merck exercising its option to the Nanopatch platform for the development and commercialization of vaccine candidates for up to two additional fields. Vaxxas will also be eligible to receive payments upon achievement of development milestones and regulatory approvals by any Merck vaccine candidate that uses the Nanopatch platform as well as royalties on sales of such Merck vaccine products. . . .
This will be one to watch. So we will.