According to The Australian Financial Review, Brisbane-based vaccine technology company Vaxxas has scored $30.6 million ($US22 million) in funding from a US government biomedical research body to advance its needle-free vaccine technology in preparation for future pandemics.
The fresh funding injection from the US Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) will support its preclinical studies and a large phase one human clinical trial of its micro-patch technology using an influenza vaccine.
The company, which was spun out of the University of Queensland in 2011, has created technology that allows vaccines to be administered via a one-square-centimetre patch with 5000 tiny projections invisible to the naked eye.
These projections are coated in a dry version of the vaccine, rather than a liquid, and prick the skin when applied. Early Vaxxas research suggests this method causes a far greater immunological response to the vaccine, thanks to the high proportion of immune cells found in the skin. This means a substantially smaller dose would be required for immunity.
Its early studies have shown comparable immune responses with a sixth of the vaccine dose.
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