David Hoey is the CEO and director of the Vaxxas, a company working on enhancing the performance of existing and next generation vaccines through a novel vaccine delivery technology called Nanopatch. The Nanopatch approach consists of using thousands of vaccine coated microprojections that painlessly perforate into the outer layers of the skin. The tips of Nanopatch’s microprojections are coated with a vaccine material and react with the immune cells immediately below the skin surface. I met David at the latest TEDMED conference and spoke with him about his research and the direction Vaxxas is pushing the boundaries of vaccination technology.
Tom Fowler, Medgadget: What got you interested in vaccine research?
David Hoey: I love working with innovative technologies that solve real-world problems. The Nanopatch has the potential to improve performance and reachs for vaccines in multiple ways that make it exciting for both mainstream commercial markets, as well as the developing world.
Medgadget: What are the advantages of Nanopatch technology versus traditional needle and syringe injections?
David Hoey: The Nanopatch is designed to deposit vaccine antigens just under the surface of the skin, amongst the dense populations of immune cells. This enables the antigens to be efficiently and effectively trafficked to lymph nodes for processing. In a wide range of animal models we’ve shown that as little as 1/10 – 1/100 of a dose of vaccine delivered this way can produce an immune response equivalent to a full dose by needle/syringe. We’re exploring this effect in humans in current clinical studies. In addition to this, vaccines coated onto the Nanopatch are in a dry format and can be engineered to be stable outside of cold-chain – a huge potential win for developing and emerging markets.
Medgadget: Are all vaccines able to be delivered by Nanopatch or are there limitations to certain types?
David Hoey: We’ve worked with about two dozen different types of vaccines in animal models and all have been compatible.
Medgadget: Can these vaccines be administered by non healthcare providers?
David Hoey: The potential for self-administration is a topic that will be subject to regulations of that differ by region. We have designed the Nanopatch to be easy to use and potentially for self-administration where regulations allow such use.
Medgadget: If I gave you one billion dollar to produce any product, what would you create?
David Hoey: We’d create a portfolio of pediatric vaccines to eliminate the need for needle/syringe to be used for the extensive schedule of childhood vaccinations.
Link: Vaxxas homepage…