Merck partnership accelerates needle-free vaccine delivery

October 9, 2012

A University of Queensland invention that will deliver vaccines without the need for needles has struck a significant partnership with US-based pharmaceutical giant Merck, announced today.

The Nanopatch technology, which aims to replace the traditional needle and with a patch smaller than a postage stamp to deliver vaccines painlessly and more efficiently, will be licenced to Merck to begin commercial production on a vaccine.

UQ Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Høj said the partnership accelerated the process of delivering the revolutionary health technology to people throughout the world.

"A major vaccine maker has looked at technologies around the world and chosen the UQ-invented Nanopatch," Professor Høj said.

"That is a tremendous credit to the team of researchers who developed the technology, led by Professor Mark Kendall.

"It also reflects the excellence of UQ's research , which ensures that practical, life-enhancing discoveries are made accessible to the people who need them.

"This link-up with Merck is especially inspiring, because it may lead to the relief of serious , particularly in remote and developing regions.

"In the immediate term, it will employ more people in Brisbane's innovation economy, and boost the global reputation of Queensland and Australian R&D."

The Nanopatch technology, now being developed by privately held biotechnology company Vaxxas, originated from Vaxxas Chief Technology Officer Professor Mark Kendall's research group at UQ's Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology.

"It is exciting to commence this important partnership between Vaxxas and Merck – a big step forward towards the Nanopatch becoming a vaccine delivery product," Professor Kendall said.

"This directly builds upon intensive and outstanding research on the Nanopatch – conducted by my research group at UQ – taking the Nanopatch from an idea to achieving unprecedented immune responses in animals. And our research has been supported by competitive research grants from both the Australian and Queensland State Governments."

Through the Merck partnership, Vaxxas will be eligible to receive payments for up to two additional vaccines developed by Merck using the Nanopatch platform, as well as milestone payments on Merck vaccine development and regulatory approvals, and royalties on sales of any vaccines that ultimately use the Nanopatch platform.

The Nanopatch works through thousands of small projections designed to deliver a to abundant immune cells in the skin, whereas the traditional syringe delivers to the muscle, where there are few immune cells.

Nanopatch delivery can improve the efficiency of vaccines—including achieving protection against influenza—with only 1/100th of the dose used with a needle and syringe.

The Nanopatch has the potential to improve patient convenience, reduce needle-stick injuries and overcome cross contamination.

It is designed for thermostability and may not need refrigeration, potentially making transport much cheaper and easier, particularly to developing nations.

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Drug for spinal muscular atrophy prompts ethical dilemmas, bioethicists say

December 11, 2017
When the Food and Drug Administration approved the first drug for people with spinal muscular atrophy a year ago, clinicians finally had hope for improving the lives of patients with the rare debilitating muscular disease. ...

FDA's program to speed up drug approval shaved nearly a year off the process

December 7, 2017
Speeding the pace at which potentially lifesaving drugs are brought to market was a rallying cry for Donald Trump as a candidate, and is a stated priority of his Food and Drug Administration commissioner, Dr. Scott Gottlieb. ...

Dangers of commonly prescribed painkillers highlighted in study

December 6, 2017
Commonly prescribed painkillers need to be given for shorter periods of time to reduce the risk of obesity and sleep deprivation, a new study has revealed.

Viagra goes generic: Pfizer to launch own little white pill

December 6, 2017
The little blue pill that's helped millions of men in the bedroom is turning white. Drugmaker Pfizer is launching its own cheaper generic version of Viagra rather than lose most sales when the impotence pill gets its first ...

Surgery-related opioid doses can drop dramatically without affecting patients' pain

December 6, 2017
Some surgeons might be able to prescribe a third of opioid painkiller pills that they currently give patients, and not affect their level of post-surgery pain control, a new study suggests.

Four-fold jump in deaths in opioid-driven hospitalizations

December 4, 2017
People who end up in the hospital due to an opioid-related condition are four times more likely to die now than they were in 2000, according to research led by Harvard Medical School and published in the December issue of ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.