Influenza is a major cause of morbidity and mortality in the United States and worldwide. However, currently marketed vaccines have suboptimal efficacy and only 47% of eligible US citizens were vaccinated in 2016-2017. Vaxart believes its tablet vaccine has the potential to improve the protective efficacy of currently available influenza vaccines and increase flu vaccination rates.
Vaxart completed Phase 1 trials for an H1N1 influenza A strain and for an influenza B strain, demonstrating safety and immune responses that correlate with protection from influenza.
On October 26, 2017, Vaxart announced that, in healthy volunteers experimentally infected with H1 influenza, its H1 influenza oral tablet vaccine resulted in a 39% reduction in clinical disease relative to placebo, compared to a 27% reduction by the active comparator, the market-leading injectable quadrivalent influenza vaccine. The Vaxart tablet vaccine also showed a favorable safety profile, indistinguishable from placebo.
In July 2019, Vaxart announced that it has entered into a research collaboration agreement with Janssen Vaccines & Prevention B.V. to evaluate Vaxart’s proprietary oral vaccine platform for the Janssen universal influenza vaccine program. Under the agreement, Vaxart will produce an oral vaccine containing certain proprietary antigens from Janssen and test the product in a pre-clinical challenge model
Upon completion of the study Janssen will have an exclusive option to negotiate an exclusive worldwide license to the Vaxart technology encompassing the Janssen antigens.