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Codagenix Announces Award with the US Department of Defense for Development of Balanced, Tetravalent Dengue Vaccine

Award valued at $4.4M will advance the company's dengue vaccine candidate, CodaVax-DENV, to clinical evaluation

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Codagenix Inc., a clinical-stage synthetic biology company with a rational virus design platform for viral vaccines and immuno-oncology therapeutics, today announced the Department of Defense has granted the company a $4.4 million award to progress development of CodaVax-DENV, its next-generation tetravalent dengue vaccine candidate.

The three-year award, established through the Joint Warfighter Medical Research Program (JWMRP), will fund manufacturing and Investigational New Drug (IND)-enabling preclinical studies in preparation of submission of an IND application and a Phase 1 clinical trial.

Dengue is a mosquito-borne viral infection with over 2.4 billion people living in dengue-endemic areas worldwide. Additionally, dengue is a significant health concern for both military deployment in these endemic areas as well as for travelers. There are no specific therapies or vaccines licensed for adults. The virus is a leading cause of serious illness in several Latin American and Asian countries, with Asian countries bearing roughly 70% of the global infection burden. Dengue vaccine development has been particularly challenging as the virus has four antigenically different serotypes and incomplete protection from vaccine candidates or prior immunity may paradoxically result in enhanced disease; thus, a safe and effective dengue vaccine must provide balanced immunity against all four serotypes at the same time. This balance requirement is where the Codagenix proprietary platform for vaccine design may provide a solution to this global health problem. The Codagenix algorithm is capable of rational design of viral genomes, enabling the balancing of the four-serotypes in a tetravalent formulation without the use of a backbone virus.

“We are proud to have been selected by the Department of Defense for this award. The funding allows us to advance CodaVax-DENV towards the clinic and assess its potential as a safe and effective option for protecting our troops and high-risk populations across the globe,” said J. Robert Coleman, Ph.D., Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Codagenix. “With our differentiated codon deoptimization approach to vaccine design, we are well positioned to address the traditional hurdles of dengue vaccine development, and we look forward to helping to make widespread protection against this pervasive disease a reality.”

In addition to the need for balance, the competing approaches to dengue vaccine development have largely based candidates on historical strains of the virus. Codagenix’s vaccine design platform has enabled precise and rational attenuation of contemporary serotypes of all four strains of dengue virus through selective codon deoptimization. With this approach, Codagenix can rationally balance all four virus serotypes to produce a safe and highly immunogenic vaccine.

The U.S. Army Medical Research Acquisition Activity, 820 Chandler Street, Fort Detrick MD 21702-5014, is the awarding and administering acquisition office.  This work was supported by the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs, through the Joint Warfighter Medical Research Program, in the amount of $4,443,543.88, under Award No. W81XWH2220026. Opinions, interpretations, conclusions and recommendations are those of the author and are not necessarily endorsed by the Department of Defense. In conducting research using animals, the investigator(s) adheres to the laws of the United States and regulations of the Department of Agriculture. In the conduct of research utilizing recombinant DNA, the investigator adhered to NIH Guidelines for research involving recombinant DNA molecules. In the conduct of research involving hazardous organisms or toxins, the investigator adhered to the CDC-NIH Guide for Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories.

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