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Soligenix discusses its contribution to addressing future serious public health threats in a podcast
New York, New York--(Newsfile Corp. - September 14, 2021) - PCG Digital -- The COVID-19 pandemic has already cost the United States an estimated $16 trillion in lost economic output, and has resulted in the loss of over 600,000 lives. At the end of last month, the country reached the dubious milestone of 39 million diagnosed cases of COVID, however, researchers have estimated a further 4.8 undiagnosed cases per diagnosis, bringing the nation's total number of infections closer to 200 million.
The burden the pandemic has placed on US economic and healthcare infrastructure, and the threat of the next pandemic, has forced leaders across the country to pay close attention to pandemic preparedness.
Last week, the Biden administration laid out a $65 billion plan for combating biological threats, including $24.2 billion to develop new vaccines for a range of viruses and enhance distribution and manufacturing of vaccines. This is the administration's largest proposed investment in its plan to combat pandemics.
Scientists were able to respond to COVID-19, developing a number of vaccines with unprecedented speed, because years had been spent on studying coronaviruses, allowing the scientific community to act once the virus' genetic sequence was available. In July, Dr. Anthony Fauci encouraged the US government to take steps to prepare for future pandemics by developing vaccine prototypes for 20 virus families. Among these viruses are filoviruses, including Ebolavirus and Marburgvirus, which have the potential to be serious public health threats.
Filoviruses have been described as a "real pandemic threat." They are highly lethal, with mortality rates in outbreaks reaching 90%, and outbreaks are increasing in frequency. The urgency of developing prototype vaccines for filoviruses can't be understated. In response, late-stage biopharmaceutical company, Soligenix (NASDAQ: SNGX), has been focused on developing safe and effective filovirus vaccine candidates, and announced positive preclinical data with multiple heat stable candidates, demonstrating potency and efficacy, in August.
With filovirus outbreaks most commonly occurring in regions with limited access to cold chain storage, or with uncertain power supply for keeping vaccines cold to maintain their integrity, Soligenix believes its thermostable vaccine platform may be an important contributor to addressing future health emergencies.
Dr. Fauci's recommendation highlighted the need to treat potential outbreaks at their source, typically in locations that struggle to meet the stringent cold chain requirements for many vaccines. A thermostabilized vaccine in a single-vial format would significantly enhance any public health response to a new outbreak.
Soligenix has demonstrated the feasibility of rapid and efficient manufacturing, as well as the ability to thermostabilize multiple antigens that can then be stored at temperatures exceeding 100 degrees Fahrenheit. The company intends to use its ThermoVax® vaccine platform to accelerate its joint COVID-19 vaccine effort, CiVax™. Soligenix, having received over $60 million in non-dilutive government grant and contract awards to date across their development pipeline, may be well positioned to potentially secure additional government funding under Biden's $65 billion plan for combating biological threats. Soligenix also reported a strong cash position of approximately $29 million on June 30, 2021, separate from their current non-dilutive government funding.
Like the government, investors have also taken a new interest in infectious diseases and biological threats to human health. After a year of outperforming the market in 2020, biotech is still in favor, with two funds launched during the pandemic vastly outperforming broader biotech ETFs. Top holdings in the funds' portfolios include key players in global efforts to deliver a vaccine for COVID-19, and the ongoing pandemic and industry focus on vaccine developments may continue to be beneficial for biotech ETFs. This is a space to watch in 2021 and beyond … as is Soligenix.
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