CU Boulder team advances HPV vaccine research

Soligenix, a late-stage biopharmaceutical company that develops products addressing unmet medical needs in the areas of oncology, inflammation and biodefense, recently collaborated with research doctors at the University of Colorado (CU Boulder) to demonstrate the ability of a heat stable vaccine formulation of a human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine.

Soligenix has been developing its heat-stabilization technology, ThermoVax, for use in a variety of vaccines, including both biodefense and infectious disease. The work conducted at CU Boulder by Thomas Randolph and Robert Garcea was the first demonstration of the compatibility of the technology with commercial vaccines.

“The use of sub-unit vaccines has always been hindered by concerns about thermostability. The use of this technology, invented at the University of Colorado, clearly overcomes these concerns and offers broad applicability in many commercial indications,” Theodore Randolph, professor in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, told Vaccine News Daily. “In addition to the cost savings incurred for vaccines for the developed world, the use of this technology also offers the opportunity for more effective vaccination in the developing world.”

They were able to successfully convert a commercial virus-like particle (VLP)-based vaccine requiring cold-chain storage to a sub-unit, alum-adjuvanted vaccine which is stable at higher temperatures. “This work, funded by a University of Colorado seed grant and the Specialized Program of Research Excellence (SPORE) in cervical cancer, is the first demonstration of the utility of Soligenix's ThermoVax technology, licensed from CU, for the development of a subunit based commercial vaccine," Randolph said.

ThermoVax has enhanced thermostability of both a ricin vaccine and an anthrax vaccine, demonstrating stability of up to one year at 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) or 16 weeks at 70 degrees Celsius (158 degrees Fahrenheit). With the most current research, the new HPV vaccine was found to be stable for at least 12 weeks at 50 degrees Celsius (122 degrees Fahrenheit), which was consistent with previous research using ThermoVax.

The results were published online in the European Journal of Pharmaceutics and Biopharmaceutics.