In a bid to support the development of thermostable RNA vaccines for chikungunya, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has awarded $18m to The Access to Advanced Health Institute (AAHI) for the early development of a vaccine candidate.

AAHI is developing a single-dose RNA vaccine that can help overcome the geographical and socio-economic barriers to chikungunya treatment. In a statement announcing the news, the institute says its RNA vaccine tackles the mosquito-borne viral disease in a unique way that could also be applied to other infectious diseases.

“This is the first attempt, to the best of our knowledge, to advance an RNA-launched live-attenuated vaccine candidate to the clinic,” said Emily Voigt, PhD, principal scientist at AAHI.

Whilst chikungunya is often described as a non-fatal disease, the infection severity can disproportionately affect poorer populations. There have been numerous outbreaks in Africa and Asia, and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control says that the risk of the virus spreading in the EU is high.

French biotech Valneva is currently in pole position to market the first chikungunya vaccine. In June, the company published promising data in The Lancet from a Phase III trial of its candidate VLA-1553 ahead of a Prescription Drug User Fee Act (PDUFA) review goal date at the end of August 2023.

AAHI says its candidate does not require the complex manufacturing associated with traditional life-attenuated vaccines because of a technology platform that binds RNA to a nanostructured lipid carrier vehicle, which delivers the nucleic acid safely to cells. The vaccine is expected to be stable at ambient temperatures and not require cold-chain storage.

How well do you really know your competitors?

Access the most comprehensive Company Profiles on the market, powered by GlobalData. Save hours of research. Gain competitive edge.

Company Profile – free sample

Thank you!

Your download email will arrive shortly

Not ready to buy yet? Download a free sample

We are confident about the unique quality of our Company Profiles. However, we want you to make the most beneficial decision for your business, so we offer a free sample that you can download by submitting the below form

By GlobalData

The funding will help the Seattle-based research institute to advance preclinical testing and human clinical evaluation in a Phase I trial. In proof-of-concept studies, a single dose of the vaccine has elicited a strong immune response.

AAHI says that success of its candidate could potentially open future avenues for RNA-delivered live-attenuated vaccines against other infectious diseases.

“[Our] RNA vaccine platform uses standard manufacturing equipment and techniques employed by vaccine manufacturers worldwide that are easy to tech transfer and scale, unlike current mRNA vaccine technology. We hope that these advances will ultimately increase availability and access to highly effective vaccines,” added Voigt.