Based in Gaithersburg, Maryland small cap biotechnology company Altimmune (NASDAQ:ALT) has decided that two companies are better than one when it comes to seeking government funding. It announced that it is teaming with DynPort Vaccine Company to coordinate U.S. government funding efforts for its COVID-19 vaccine candidate AdCOVID.
Altimmune is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company that develops treatments for liver disease and intranasal vaccines. Its development pipeline includes therapeutics for NASH and chronic hepatitis B in addition to its COVID-19 product candidates.
Bringing DynPort into the fold is expected to increase Altimmune’s potential to obtain government funding in support of the ongoing development of AdCOVID. If the partnership can secure federal funding it will be deployed for program management, drug development activity, and regulatory support for AdCOVID.
Based in nearby Frederick, Maryland, DynPort is a subsidiary of General Dynamics Information Technology which is a part of large cap aerospace and defense company General Dynamics (NYSE:GD). DynPort brings experience in vaccine development as a prime contractor and systems integrator for the various activities necessary to secure FDA licensure for a new drug product. It specializes in treatments for biodefense, infectious diseases, and chemical warfare agents.
Differentiated product profile may generate government agency interest
Although companies around the world continue to throw their hat in the ring to develop potential COVID-19 vaccines, Altimmune’s vaccine candidate may appeal to government funding agencies due to its differentiated product profile.
AdCOVID is a single-dose intranasal therapy designed to guard the respiratory tract from invasion by viruses and to provide downstream protection against the spread of a virus by stimulating the mucosal and systemic antibodies. Since the SARS-CoV-2 virus often enters the body through the nose, the vaccine candidate has the potential to defend against infection and help prevent the spread of the virus to others.
An additional benefit of AdCOVID is that trained medical personnel would not be needed for application unlike with many injection vaccines. Furthermore, it can be stored for long periods at room temperature which would eliminate the need for expensive refrigeration equipment and transportation.
Preclinical studies of AdCOVID are underway through Altimmune’s collaboration with the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). According to the company, the preliminary findings from the studies are expected to be available “in the near term”.
Altimmune expects to start manufacturing the vaccine candidate by the end of the third quarter of this year. A Phase 1 clinical trial of AdCOVID may take place as soon as the fourth quarter of 2020.
The company already has two programs that have been supported by government funding. This includes NasoShield, a single dose intranasal anthrax vaccine candidate and T-COVID, an intranasal therapy for early-stage COVID-19.
Joining forces with DynPort certainly bodes well for its chances of receiving further funding for its COVID-19 vaccine candidate.
The market reacted favorably to the announcement in bidding shares of Altimmune more than 20% higher on July 9th.