Addressing the significant threat to global health posed by current and future pathogens is a critical unmet need laid bare by the ongoing pandemic. Both traditional and emerging approaches for creating vaccines have limitations, and new options are urgently required. Solaris is applying a technology previously used for inactivating pathogens in the blood supply to rapidly produce safe and effective vaccines against viruses, bacteria and parasites under the tradename SolaVAX™.
The Problem: The current global pandemic has highlighted the shortcomings of a variety of current approaches to creating vaccines in that they are slow to develop and manufacture, have sub-optimal levels, broadness and duration of protection, use archaic growth systems and/or toxic chemicals, have limited flexibility/coverage, require challenging storage conditions and distribution channels, and face skepticism in the general population.
The Solution:The mechanism of action underlying the SolaVAX™ approach has been in routine clinical use for prevention of transfusion-transmitted viral, bacterial and parasitic diseases since 2008 under the tradename Mirasol™. More specifically, SolaVAX™ utilizes the well-established ability of riboflavin and UV light to modify nucleic acid structure. The specificity of this chemistry for nucleic acid alteration allows for retention of plasma and cell-bound protein structure post treatment to elicit an authentic and protective immune response when used as vaccines. The use of riboflavin—a generally recognized as safe chemical agent—eliminates concerns over potential toxicity to either personnel handling the chemical in production processes or to final recipients of material treated with this process.
Market Opportunity: Vaccines are an increasingly profitable segment and will continue to grow given the ongoing pandemic and likelihood of future outbreaks. For example, the primary producers of the currently available COVID-19 vaccines have announced remarkable revenue growth. Sales worth $11b were made by Pfizer in the first half of 2021 from the COVID-19 vaccine. In July, it lifted its 2021 sales forecast to $34b. Pricing for COVID-19 vaccines ranges from $16 to $36 per dose. The cost of manufacturing is likely substantially higher for mRNA vaccines than for those created using SolaVAX™, which should allow Solaris to improve on Pfizer’s current 30% profit margin. Furthermore, a more potent vaccine requiring lower dosing would also result in higher margins. Beyond COVID-19, major markets with significant unmet need exist for multiple pathogen threats, including—but not limited to—influenza, tuberculosis, and malaria.
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