Australian biotechnology firm Sementis has entered into a research and development (R&D) partnership with UK-based Enesi Pharma for the development of potential vaccine candidates to treat peanut allergy and chikungunya/Zika infection.

Under the alliance, the partners will leverage Enesi Pharma’s ImplaVax needle-free implant and device technology to create and assess solid dose versions of Sementis’ peanut hypoallergy vaccine and single vectored chikungunya/Zika vaccine candidates.

Designed for subcutaneous vaccination, ImplaVax technology is said to enable better immune responses than conventional injection protocols.

Enesi Pharma CEO David Hipkiss said: “The collaboration to develop a solid dose version of these vaccines for use with our ImplaVax needle-free device offers the potential to deliver a robust and effective product addressing significant global health challenges.

“We are seeing increasing interest from all areas of the vaccine and public health industries based on the potential benefits that ImplaVax could provide to improve vaccination.”

The investigational peanut hypoallergy vaccine by Sementis is expected to provide a permanent cure for the allergy. Its ImplaVax-enabled variant is meant to facilitate a simple and effective option on a large scale.

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Sementis is developing the single vectored chikungunya/Zika vaccine to protect from Zika and chikungunya virus infections with a single vaccination shot.

“We are excited with this collaboration as we are very confident that the ImplaVax technology will work extremely well with our vaccine vector technology to reduce, or even eliminate.”

An ImplaVax-SCV chikungunya/Zika vaccine is said to provide the potential for long-lasting immunity, while retaining potency across multiple storage conditions for prolonged duration.

Sementis CEO Dr Paul Howley said: “We are excited with this collaboration as we are very confident that the ImplaVax technology will work extremely well with our vaccine vector technology to reduce, or even eliminate, the reliance on maintaining a cold-chain environment from manufacture to point-of-care, and possibly providing long-term stability to our vaccines.”

The terms of the collaboration will see Enesi Pharma devise solid dose implants based on SCV vaccine provided by Sementis.

Meanwhile, Sementis will be responsible for safety and immunogenicity testing, as well as preclinical development.

Enesi Pharma signed a similar R&D alliance with the UK’s Public Health England (PHE) agency last month over needle-free solid-dose vaccine products for emergent threat pathogens.