Arcturus announces $63m award from US government to support development of self-amplifying mRNA vaccine

By Rachel Arthur

- Last updated on GMT


Related tags mRNA Vaccine Pandemic influenza Us

Arcturus Therapeutics has obtained an award for up to $63.2m from the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA): allowing the company to expand its current influenza vaccine program to include development of a pandemic influenza vaccine based on its proprietary self-amplifying mRNA platform.

Running over three years, the award will support preclinical, manufacturing and non-clinical safety studies, along with development and regulatory support for the tech for rapid pandemic influenza response through Phase 1 clinical studies.

It will be used to develop a low-dose, freeze-dried, pandemic influenza vaccine candidate using Arcturus’ Starr self-amplifying mRNA vaccine platform technology.

This tech has already been used in the San Diego company’s COVID-19 vaccine candidate, which has demonstrated a favorable safety and efficacy profile (the company announced it April that the candidate, ARCT-154, met its primary efficacy endpoint in a Phase 3 study​).

Furthermore, the tech can be used to create a vaccine with a stable cold chain profile which could help government pandemic preparedness goals.

“Arcturus’ next generation mRNA platform has been administered to over 10,000 individuals globally demonstrating favorable safety, strong immunogenicity, and protection against SARS-COV-2 infection,”​ said Joseph Payne, President and CEO of Arcturus Therapeutics.

“Our lyophilized vaccines have the potential to provide safe and effective protection against disease with the specific advantage of rapid scale-up, lower doses, and easier transport and storage. These are qualities that are essential to a rapid response against pandemic influenza and are consistent with strategic objectives of the US government’s National Strategy for Pandemic Influenza.”

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