Mymetics-led consortium scores €8.4M to develop thermostable vaccines

Mymetics CEO Ronald Kempers

The need for cold-chain transportation has been a prominent barrier in making vaccines available to developing countries. A consortium led by Mymetics' Dutch subsidiary has just received €8.4 million to change that.

Mymetics announced Monday that its subsidiary, Mymetics BV, is leading a consortium selected to receive grants totaling €8.4 million. Of that total, €5.3 million will come as a part of Horizon 2020, the European Union's research and innovation framework program. Up to €3.1 million will come from the Swiss State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation for the consortium members that are based in Switzerland.

Consortium partners include Catalent ($CTLT), Chimera Biotec GmbH and Bachem AG.

More than 90% of existing vaccines are dependent on the cold chain, which results in a "detrimental impact" on availability, efficacy and cost of these vaccines in developing countries, said Ronald Kempers, Mymetics CEO, in a statement.

"There is an [indisputable] need to innovate and manufacture vaccines that are stable and temperature independent," Kempers said.

Mymetics will start working with its virosome-based HIV vaccine candidate with the goal of developing a scalable manufacturing process for a thermostable vaccine within three and a half years. The company also has vaccines for malaria, herpes simplex virus, flu and RSV in its pipeline.

Several companies are working on vaccines that do not require cold-chain storage and transportation. Serum Institute of India is developing a powdered measles vaccine and Merck's ($MRK) JV Hilleman Labs is working on a cholera vaccine for developing countries that can withstand temperatures up to 45 degrees Celsius. However, Serum reported Phase I results last week that showed that one dose of its measles candidate was inferior to one dose of the traditional injected vaccine.

- here's the release