Augmenta Biologicals is a seed-stage biopharmaceutical company developing new technologies for improved immunization without the need for conventional immune adjuvants, and for clearance of pathogens from the blood.
Our technology provides a means for augmenting the potency of vaccines by several orders of magnitude by redirecting their presentation to the immune system. Vaccine agents are coupled to a targeting molecule, which, upon injection, routes these antigens to the immune system via circulating red blood cells. The result is greater immunity as well as greatly reduced amounts of required vaccine material. This enabling technology is being developed for near-term revenues in animal health vaccines (livestock and companion species) and ultimately for human vaccines (prophylactic, therapeutic, bioterrorism, etc.). Any vaccine may be readily adapted with a simple chemical reaction for red blood cell targeting by this approach. The same targeting approach also serves to enhance clearance of toxins and pathogenic organisms from the circulation.
The worldwide vaccine market was $19B in 2008 and expected to be $35B in 2014, with a double-digit growth rate, something not seen in other areas of the pharmaceutical industry. It encompasses pediatric and adult, clinical and veterinary vaccines for protection against many infectious organisms. Potential indications also include targets such as cancer, Alzheimer's disease, autoimmune conditions, substance abuse, contraception, etc. The clearance of toxins has substantial markets in biodefense and in infectious diseases.
Certain aspects of vaccine use and manufacture present particular challenges. For example, many vaccine preparations require combination with immune adjuvants that act through non-specific stimulation of the immune system. Only a few immune adjuvants are approved for human use; some are weak (e.g., alum) and others can have adverse side effects (injection site reactions, inflammation, allergy, autoimmunity).
Another challenge that Augmenta's technology can address is manufacturing capacity. For example, the speedy production of many doses of vaccines for seasonal influenza is limited by the lead-time from identification of the season's viral strain and the quantity of vaccine material that can be produced in time for use during the current season.
Toxin-clearing antibodies (anti-toxins) are also limited in their protective capacity in terms of quantity of toxin and time to neutralization.
To address these challenges we provide a technology for the substantial enhancement of immunogen and anti-toxin potency, permitting the use of minute quantities of material in the absence of non-specific immune stimulation. The strategy uses retargeting to direct vaccine antigens or anti-toxin antibodies to the immune system by a natural route (red blood cells) that results in a greatly potentiated immune response.