VBI eyes refrigeration-free vaccines

VBI, a Canadian company with headquarters in Cambridge, MA, is nearing clinical trials for a flu vaccine that doesn't require refrigeration--the Holy Grail of vaccine companies, notes Xconomy. Early testing shows that the company's flu vaccine is still effective even after a year of being stored in hot temperatures. Such conditions would destroy any other vaccine currently available.

The advantages of thermostable vaccines, as they are called, are obvious. Access to refrigeration is often limited in developing nations where a large, stable supply of vaccines need to be available in remote locations. The technology could also be valuable for preventing spoilage in developed nations as well.

VBI has promising preclinical data in hand and plans to start clinical trials of its own flu vaccine candidate in about a year. The company also says it's developing a thermostable formulation that could be applied to drugs already on the market, which is a huge advantage over competitors' technology which requires changes early in production.

"This will be one of those things where once thermostable vaccines start extending the current market, then very quickly you will see thermostable vaccines becoming the norm," VBI CEO Jeff Baxter tells Xconomy. "Because it is such a competitive advantage to take vaccines out of the cold chain and to reduce the risk of spoilage."

- read the full story from Xconomy