Hoth Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ: HOTH) shares spiked about 90% Monday morning after the biopharmaceutical company announced that it has reached an agreement with Voltron Therapeutics, Inc. to form a joint venture entity, to be named HaloVax, which will commence preclinical studies for the development of vaccine prospects to prevent the Coronavirus (COVID-19). The vaccine prospects to be based upon VaxCelerate, a self-assembling vaccine (SAV) platform exclusively licensed by Voltron from the Vaccine and Immunotherapy Center (VIC) at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH).
Hoth and Voltron explained that the VaxCelerate vaccine platform was developed as a means of rapidly generating and pre-clinically testing a new vaccine against specific pathogen targets. The technology which received Department of Defense (DoD) funding has demonstrated proof of concept in Lassa Fever, an emerging infectious disease. HaloVax intends to use these same SAV principles to assist in the development of a potential vaccine against the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dr. Mark Poznansky, Director, Vaccine and Immunotherapy Center, of MGH stated, “The team at the Vaccine and Immunology Center at Massachusetts General Hospital is focused on developing a self-assembling vaccine (SAV) for COVID-19 through its existing VaxCelerate platform. The mobilization of T-cells in the eradication of viruses is well documented. Our experience in proof of concept studies supports the ability of the SAV to evoke immune responses to viruses. Through our partnership with Voltron, we look forward to collaborating to bring this technology to the clinic and exploring how it can potentially be used to prevent the virus in the population at large and especially individuals who are at risk for the most serious consequences of COVID-19 infection.”
Dr. Michael Callahan, Chief of Translational Medicine, Vaccine and Immunotherapy Center, of MGH said, “We believe this SAV technology developed at the VIC, which has proof of concept data in infectious diseases and oncology in four animal models, has the potential to assist in the rapid development and testing of products to prevent, intercept or treat COVID-19. The customizable cellular immunity generated by the SAV may safely and effectively protect patients worldwide.”
Among the Companies that announced developments of potential vaccines for the COVID-19 are: Moderna, Inc. (NASDAQ: MRNA), Vir Biotechnology, Inc. (NASDAQ: VIR), BioNTech SE (NASDAQ: BNTX), Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE) and Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ).