This effort takes the initial steps toward developing the world’s first vaccine capable of rapidly generating complete, lasting protection from dengue fever and will establish a new state-of-the-art in adjuvant design by using computational methods.
PITTSBURGH, PA (PRWEB) November 09, 2015
Qrono Inc. today announced that the US Army SBIR Program awarded Qrono a $150,000 Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I contract to develop and test a novel adjuvant to enhance the immunogenicity of dengue vaccine.
Dengue fever incidence has grown exponentially over the past 50 years and now causes disease in nearly 100 million people annually. It is currently ranked 2nd in the Infectious Disease Threats to the U.S. Military Prioritization Panel (DoD Memo: 23 April 2010). There are currently no licensed vaccines to prevent dengue, nor drugs to treat dengue illness. Vaccination offers the most effective method of protecting at-risk individuals. The long immunization schedule (12 months) and partial protection (3060%) of the latest trial vaccines set clear milestones for improvement. International travelers and Warfighters being deployed to tropical or subtropical regions require more immediate and more complete immunity.
To this end, Qrono will computationally optimize and develop a transformational microparticle adjuvant platform called M2 that will generate rapid onset immunity in a new dengue vaccine through molecularly engineered control over antigen uptake and T cell stimulation. The ultimate goal for this new vaccine is to rapidly protect against dengue’s manifestations with a single dose and to create an effective dengue vaccine for protecting military personnel against this potentially mission-aborting disease. Qrono’s computational drug delivery technology called QronoMetrics™ allows Qrono to rapidly create the formulations that will optimize M2’s adjuvant effect.
“This effort takes the initial steps toward developing the world’s first vaccine capable of rapidly generating complete, lasting protection from dengue fever and will establish a new state-of-the-art in adjuvant design by using computational methods,” said Qrono CEO Larry Zana. “This vaccine promises not only to reduce the global economic impact of dengue but also to considerably reduce the worldwide human suffering and death it causes. Success of this new vaccine will establish M2 as a key adjuvant platform for use in vaccines for other pathogens such as influenza or Ebola.”
The contract will enable Qrono to further demonstrate the utility of QronoMetrics™ in developing microparticle formulations in an unprecedented, rapid period of time for a wide range of target pharmaceuticals. In Phase I, Qrono will develop and demonstrate proof-of-concept of the M2 platform with computationally optimized formulations. Upon successful completion of Phase I, Qrono will be eligible to apply for Phase II funding that will continue vaccine development through preclinical efficacy studies in mouse and monkey models before beginning the clinical trials needed for regulatory approval and commercialization.
This contract was funded by the Army SBIR Program. The work is managed by the US Army Medical Research and Materiel Command under Contract No. W81XWH-15-C-0120 and will be managed and done in collaboration with the Viral and Rickettsial Diseases Department at the Naval Medical Research Center. The views, opinions and/or findings contained in this report are those of the author and should not be construed as an official Department of the Army position, policy or decision unless so designated by other documentation. In conducting research using animals, the investigator will adhere to the Animal Welfare Act Regulations and other Federal statutes relating to animals and experiments involving animals and the principles set forth in the current version of the Guide for Care and Use of Laboratory Animals, National Research Council.
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Qrono reformulates FDA approved drugs and creates new, long-acting injectable (LAI) medications with improved clinical and economic benefits. Our product pipeline focuses on therapeutic areas where LAIs offer high therapeutic and economic value, such as addressing high non-adherence or solving specific drug delivery challenges. Using our computational drug delivery technology, we can design LAIs much faster than legacy practice and with reduced regulatory and technical risk.