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Vaxart Inc.

This article was originally published in Start Up

Executive Summary

One reason that oral vaccines are so rare is that, generally speaking, the immune system in the gut does not respond to foreign proteins such as food or normal bacteria. Vaxart Inc. has developed an oral vaccine system based on a key immune receptor that recognizes a signal for viral infection that is not normal in the gut and can therefore elicit a strong immune response. The vaccine platform targets toll-like receptor 3 (TLR-3), which occurs on the surface of cells in the small intestine. TLR-3 binds to double-stranded RNA, which is only found in double-stranded RNA viruses, and then alerts the immune system to the presence of the invader.

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NasVax Ltd.

NasVax Ltd.'s VaxiSome, a novel adjuvant/delivery system for enhacing the activity of existing vaccines, consists of lipid assemblies comprising an innovative, proprietary family of positively charged polycationic lipids. The technology generates strong adjuvant activity, with the potential for intranasal, intramuscular, or subcutaneous administration. This platform can also be applied to boost the bioactivity of various immunomodulators, such as a broad spectrum of well-established adjuvants and cytokines.

Solid Support for Flu Vaccine Development

Vaccines generally are one of the few areas in pharmaceutical development where government incentives, science, and intellectual property are in alignment to favor commercialization. This is particularly true for flu vaccine, where recent events have drawn the attention of government and Big Pharma. That, plus the advent of new adjuvant technology and innovative manufacturing methods, signals opportunity for new players.

FluGen Inc.

FluGen aims to improve vaccine manufacturing and ultimately create better, safer, flu vaccines as well as treatments for the viral infections. The start-up is not basing its business model on the possibility of any sort of worldwide pandemic--but its founders' expertise with such matters brings credibility that is bound to be useful in attracting potential partners.

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