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BARDA partners with Colorado State University’s Infectious Disease Research Center (IDRC) to further develop the SolaVAXTM platform to address COVID-19

BARDA Response

BARDA is partnering with Colorado State University’s Infectious Disease Research Center (IDRC) to further develop SolaVAXTM. The SolaVAXTM platform uses a proprietary technology to inactivate a virus with low risk to the patient. This project will demonstrate the utility of the SolaVAXTM process to inactivate SARS-CoV-2. The technology is expandable with potential to advance vaccine manufacturing capabilities to meet vaccine needs globally.

The SolaVAXTM process utilizes Riboflavin and UV light to carry out specific DNA and RNA chemistry with viral, bacterial or cellular agents that subsequently may be used in vaccine preparations. The photochemistry of Riboflavin and UV light has been shown to be specific to nucleic acids and not induce damage or modification to the viral protein antigens that serve as the immunogens in the host. By preventing replication of the target agent, such as the SARS-CoV-2 virus, while minimizing or reducing the amount of peripheral damage caused, a particle can be generated that contains all the potential antigenic targets for immune response without the capacity for replication post-infection.

Researchers at Colorado State University intend to test this platform with stock virus cultures grown in the CSU’s BioMARC BSL-3 facility, a cGMP compliant manufacturing facility operated by the University on a non-profit basis. BioMARC has the capability and capacity to produce large quantities of viruses, perform inactivation procedures, and operates BSL-3 labs safely for high-containment biological manufacturing operations. This facility was established as a Regional Center of Excellence and currently operates as part of the Regional Biocontainment/National Biocontainment laboratory network under the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health.

During this pandemic, the ability to produce large quantities of vaccines in a cost-effective manner is critical. The SolaVAXTM platform has already been shown to inactivate MERS-CoV, another virus in the coronavirus family, efficiently and has been evaluated for production in other types of vaccine delivery systems. The specific technology used in the SolaVAXTM platform provides for low toxicity and thus easy handling, distribution and manufacturing of vaccines. The technology may provide an inexpensive, fast, safe, clean, and potentially better inactivation technology than what is currently available.

This award is one component of BARDA’s rapidly expanding COVID-19 medical countermeasure portfolio; visit BARDA’s COVID-19 Portfolio to learn more.

About Colorado State University:  
The following information is provided by the company and does not indicate endorsement by the federal government of the company or its products.

Founded in 1870 as the Colorado Agricultural College, Colorado State University is now among the nation’s leading research universities, with annual research expenditures approaching $400 million. The CSU System includes the flagship campus in Fort Collins as well as CSU- Pueblo and CSU-Global. In Fort Collins, CSU currently enrolls about 33,000 students, including 4,000 graduate students and 580 in the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine program, and has more than 1,800 faculty members working in eight colleges. CSU’s DVM program consistently ranks among the top three veterinary medicine programs in the nation.

Last Updated: June 25, 2020

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