FORT COLLINS – Vivaldi Biosciences, a biopharmaceutical company that works out of a facility at Colorado State University, has received a grant from Flu Lab to evaluate the potential of its DeltaFLU universal influenza vaccine, administered by nasal spray, to block flu virus transmission and spread of infection and disease.
Vivaldi, which made the announcement on Monday, is a clinical-stage biotechnology company developing vaccines for viral respiratory diseases. The venture-backed company has operations at the Research Innovation Center at CSU as well as in Vienna, Austria. NGN Capital LLC is the company’s lead investor.
Flu Lab, based in Palo Alto, California, is a philanthropic organization founded to fuel bold approaches to defeat influenza. A vaccine that both protects against all flu strains and blocks or reduces transmission would be a significant advance in preventing influenza and reducing the disease burden.
The transmission study builds on successful clinical trials of DeltaFLU vaccine strains, and preclinical studies showing the potential for DeltaFLU to provide protection against all influenza virus strains causing disease in humans.
Vivaldi plans to begin the transmission study early next year. The study will include evaluations of immune response and protection of DeltaFLU-immunized ferrets against infection by broadly divergent wild-type influenza type A and B strains transmitted by experimentally infected ferrets. The ferret is the most well-characterized and relevant animal model of human influenza infection and immune response.
Influenza is a contagious respiratory disease and a serious public health problem. Flu viruses are transmitted between individuals by tiny droplets that enter the nose, mouth or lungs, where they replicate and cause disease. Each year, influenza infects as many as 30% of children and 10% of adults worldwide, and results in as many as 500,000 deaths. Vaccination is the best way to prevent influenza, but conventional vaccines provide only modest protection. Available vaccines are designed to protect against just three or four selected influenza virus strains and do not prevent transmission of influenza viruses from person to person.
Vivaldi Biosciences says its DeltaFLU provides important advantages of needle-free administration and rapid protection in the nasal passages, where it generates a first line of defense at the point of entry of circulating flu viruses. DeltaFLU also activates T cells and antibody-producing B cells for a broadly protective systemic immune response.
Vivaldi has secured funding from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the European Union to conduct clinical trials to demonstrate universal protection with DeltaFLU in adult volunteers.