Voltron Therapeutics, Inc. Announces Positive Data from Animal Testing of Self-Assembling Vaccine in the Fight Against COVID-19

New York, New York, UNITED STATES

NEW YORK, March 24, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Voltron Therapeutics, Inc. today announced positive data from its second set of preclinical animal testing of its HaloVax™ Self-Assembling Vaccine (SAV) against COVID-19. This study investigated an updated construct, based on initial testing as well as recent scientific developments, in order to identify the best balance of immune responses for prevention of this pandemic pathogen. HaloVax is being developed in conjunction with Hoth Therapeutics, Inc (NASDAQ: HOTH).

The vaccine is built on a base of a heat shock protein (HSP70)-Avidin fusion protein that activates the cellular component of the immune system; this is different from most other vaccine efforts, which have used adjuvants such as alum. The second portion of the vaccine consists of peptides derived from understanding of the COVID-19 virus, which are bound to the heat shock protein via its Avidin component and Biotin added to each string of virus targeting peptides. This enables rapid iteration and up-to-date data informed changes in the peptide sequences to enable swift production and accommodate potential changes in the pathogen itself. The selected immunogenic peptides complete the customized COVID-19 vaccine.

The current study consisted of a full near GLP preclinical mouse study evaluating whether the self- assembling vaccine, consisting of the immune activating MTBhsp70-avidin component and antigen targeting biotinylated immunogenic peptides, increased the immune response relative to controls or peptides alone.

Results demonstrated that the self-assembling vaccine construct did indeed significantly increase both helper and cytotoxic T cell responses to the vaccine targeted antigens compared to controls. This proof of concept for the SAV platform is critical to both the COVID-19 program as well as the oncology application of this cutting-edge technology. Development of both applications is ongoing.

Dr. Mark Poznansky, Director, Vaccine and Immunotherapy Center (VIC), Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) stated, “The positive results seen in this study sets the stage for our preclinical rodent vaccine – challenge study where we dose the rodents with the self-assembling vaccine platform to immunize against COVID-19 and then challenge with the live virus.   Further, given the similarity of the immune targeting approach in this COVID study to that intended for our cancer treatment program, these data increase our confidence in the prospects for effectively treating selected cancers in future studies.”

The vaccine is currently in development by HaloVax, LLC a biopharmaceutical company and special purpose subsidiary of Voltron Therapeutics, Inc. The company was established to advance an application of VaxCelerate, the SAV platform licensed from the Vaccine and Immunotherapy Center (VIC) at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) specifically for the rapid development of safe and effective vaccines against emerging pathogens including COVID-19 and specific types of cancer. The VaxCelerate platform was developed to improve patient outcomes by activating and targeting the immune system to identify and destroy the infectious agent. Voltron Therapeutics, Inc. has acquired an exclusive worldwide license to this technology from MGH.

“We continue to be pleased with the significant advances in the design, manufacture and testing of HaloVax, as we continue the development and, potentially, deployment of a vaccine that will not only prevent disease, but will offer safe administration with a strong, broad immune response,” said Pat Gallagher, Chief Executive Officer, Voltron Therapeutics, Inc. “These encouraging results are not only good for our COVID-19 efforts, but have applicability to oncology as well. Today’s announcement of this successful preclinical testing is expected to help rapidly drive us toward clinical trials in humans, bringing us closer to a potentially proven and effective vaccine to help prevent infection and COVID-19 related disease.”

James Ahern, Founding Partner, Laidlaw Venture Partners added, "We are in a very exciting time of growth for Laidlaw Venture Partner’s portfolio companies. The successful trial result for HaloVax announced today is another testament to the quality of the companies we continue to incubate and the unique investment opportunities they present our clients. We will continue to fully vet new opportunities moving forward, focusing on our ability to add value for our companies and investors."

About Voltron Therapeutics, Inc.

Voltron Therapeutics, Inc., a Delaware corporation, was founded in 2017 to lead and accelerate the development of the Vaccine and Immunotherapy Center (VIC), and the Massachusetts General Hospital's novel Self Assembling Vaccine technology in a variety of indications, including in Oncology and emerging Infectious Diseases. Voltron holds an exclusive worldwide license to this technology. With the work of our world class team of researchers and physicians, this technology has shown in certain pre-clinical studies initial proof of concept in two infectious diseases (Lassa Fever and Q Fever) as well as two oncology indications (Ovarian and HPV Related Cancers). For more information, please visit www.voltrontx.com.

About HaloVax™, LLC

HaloVax, LLC is a special purpose subsidiary of Voltron Therapeutics, Inc. in joint venture with Hoth Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ: HOTH) The mission of HaloVax is to develop a novel, Self-Assembling Vaccine against COVID-19, utilizing technology licensed by Voltron Therapeutics, Inc. from the Vaccine and Immunotherapy Center at the Massachusetts General Hospital. The vaccine is being designed from a validated platform to provide customized T cell immunity against COVID-19, as well as be able to adapt rapidly to potential genetic drift of the virus. For more information, please visit www.HaloVax.com.  

About Hoth Therapeutics, Inc.

Hoth Therapeutics, Inc. is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on developing new generation therapies for dermatological disorders. Hoth's pipeline has the potential to improve the quality of life for patients suffering from indications including atopic dermatitis, chronic wounds, psoriasis, asthma and acne. To learn more, please visit www.hoththerapeutics.com.

Forward Looking Statements

This press release includes "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements in this press release include, but are not limited to, statements that relate to the advancement and development of the VaxCelerate Platform, the commencement of clinical trials, the availability of data from clinical trials and other information that is not historical information. When used herein, words such as "anticipate", "being", "will", "plan", "may", "continue", and similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements. In addition, any statements or information that refer to expectations, beliefs, plans, projections, objectives, performance or other characterizations of future events or circumstances, including any underlying assumptions, are forward-looking. All forward-looking statements are based upon Voltron's current expectations and various assumptions. Voltron believes there is a reasonable basis for its expectations and beliefs, but they are inherently uncertain. Voltron may not realize its expectations, and its beliefs may not prove correct. Actual results could differ materially from those described or implied by such forward-looking statements as a result of various important factors, including, without limitation, market conditions and any Voltron filings made with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Consequently, forward-looking statements should be regarded solely as Voltron's current plans, estimates and beliefs. Investors should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements. Voltron cannot guarantee future results, events, levels of activity, performance or achievements. Voltron does not undertake and specifically declines any obligation to update, republish, or revise any forward-looking statements to reflect new information, future events or circumstances or to reflect the occurrences of unanticipated events, except as may be required by law.

Investor Contacts:

Matt Duffy
Voltron Therapeutics, Inc.

Jason Assad
Voltron Therapeutics, Inc.
Investor Relations