—  Program aims to provide new technologies for overcoming a key biological limitation in needle-free vaccines

Seattle, WA, November 29, 2023Lumen Bioscience—a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company developing biologic drugs for highly prevalent diseases—today announced $5.5 million in new funding from the U.S. Department of Defense, operating through the Medical CBRN Defense Consortium (MCDC), to develop enabling technologies for needle-free vaccines.

The funding supports development of Lumen’s MoDuSA (Modular Dual Scaffolded Adjuvant) technology for next-generation, needle-free vaccines. The goal is to develop a platform that allows vaccine researchers to quickly develop and deliver shelf-stable and self-administered adjuvanted vaccines. The technology is also expected to be useful for conventional injection vaccines.

“Covid-19 revealed that vaccines are still the most powerful option in the public health toolkit. However, injection delivery is still required for nearly all vaccines on the market, which limits access,” said Dr. Nhi Khuong, Lumen’s VP, Preclinical. “This new technology could expand access and ease vaccine production, storage, and administration in future public health emergencies.”

Needle-free administration offers several advantages. Trypanophobia (needle fear) affects about 25% of the population. And most vaccine injections require trained medical personnel and refrigerated distribution and storage, so these logistics impede distribution. This is particularly true in resource-constrained settings like the developing world and battlefield medicine.

A key limitation blocking wider adoption of needle-free vaccines is the lack of good adjuvants for intranasal and oral delivery. Adjuvants are an extra ingredient in nearly all vaccines that amplifies the immune response so that immunity is more protective and lasts longer.

The MoDuSA program builds on research previously published by the Lumen team in NPJ Vaccines demonstrating an intranasal vaccine against malaria. Lumen and its collaborators at the University of Washington reported that its intranasal vaccine could protect against malaria challenge in mice despite the fact that malaria is a systemic parasite not a mucosal pathogen—a far more difficult technical challenge.

About MCDC

The Medical CBRN Defense Consortium supports the research and development of prototypes to prevent, diagnose, and treat illnesses caused by chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear agents or emerging infectious diseases. MCDC was formed in response to the government’s interest in advanced development efforts to support the Department of Defense’s medical pharmaceutical and diagnostic requirements as related to enhancing the mission effectiveness of military personnel.

Group 14
Lumen Bioscience
November 29, 2023