Avidea’s SNAPvaxTM Tolerance Vaccine Program Boosted by SAB Appointments and Encouraging Preclinical Data

June 14, 2021

  • Dr. Peter Calabresi, Director of the MS Center at Johns Hopkins, and Professor Christopher Jewell, Fischell Department of Bioengineering at UMD, join Avidea’s SAB
  • SNAPvax Tolerance Vaccine (TV) induces regulatory T cells and prevents disease in an EAE model in mice, demonstrating potential as a treatment for autoimmunity
  • Avidea’s lead SNAPvax TV candidate for treating multiple sclerosis (MS) is advancing to the clinic

BALTIMORE, Maryland – Avidea Technologies, Inc. (“Avidea”), a biotechnology company developing ‘precision’ immunotherapies for cancer and autoimmunity, announced today the appointment of Professor Christopher Jewell, a Minta Martin Professor of Engineering at the University of Maryland Fischell Department of Bioengineering, and Dr. Peter Calabresi, Director of the Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Center at Johns Hopkins, to Avidea’s scientific advisory board (SAB).

“Professor Jewell is an international leader in biomaterials research for immunotherapeutic applications, particularly for treating autoimmune diseases, and Dr. Calabresi is an internationally recognized physician-scientist in the fields of MS and neuroinflammation who has substantial experience treating patients with MS and advancing promising new therapies through clinical testing. Their expertise will be a huge asset to both our basic research and translational efforts in the tolerance space,” said Nick Fullenkamp, Avidea’s CBO.

As members of the SAB, Jewell and Calabresi will advise Avidea’s research and clinical development strategy, including Avidea’s efforts to develop a tolerance vaccine for MS, referred to as SVT201. SVT201 is based on Avidea’s vaccine platform technology, SNAPvaxTM, which leverages self-assembly to codeliver multiple antigens and immunomodulators in nanoparticles optimized for priming T cell immunity for various applications, including autoimmunity and cancer treatment (Lynn G, et al. Nature Biotechnology, 2020).

“The modularity of SNAPvax enables a plug-and-play approach to precisely control the type and specificity of immune response desired,” said Dr. Andrew Ishizuka, Avidea’s CSO. “Avidea’s tolerance vaccine (“SNAPvax TV”) is optimized for priming regulatory T cell (Treg) responses against antigens implicated in autoimmune diseases. Preclinical data show that SNAPvax TV primes Tregs and mitigates disease in a mouse model of MS referred to as EAE.”

“Most existing treatments for autoimmune diseases are non-specific, broadly immunosuppressive, and often don’t lead to a cure. SNAPvax TV induces Tregs that suppress inflammation and block autoreactive responses in an antigen-specific manner, thereby providing a more targeted, and potentially curative, treatment,” said Dr. Geoffrey Lynn, CEO of Avidea Technologies. “Our SNAPvax TV candidate for MS provides the advantage of targeting all the major myelin antigens. We believe this will lead to broader Treg responses, which may be key for treating MS.”

Avidea’s founding team and advisors include experts in synthetic vaccines and T cell biology out of the NIH’s Vaccine Research Center. “The appointment of Jewell and Calabresi expands our capabilities in tolerance and reaffirms our commitment to advancing treatments for autoimmunity,” said Lynn. “We are grateful for the opportunity to work with Professor Jewell and Dr. Calabresi and are certain their insights will lead us to developing better therapies for the patients who need them.”

In addition to these appointments, the Jewell Lab at UMD was recently awarded a Maryland Industrial Partnerships (MIPS) grant to evaluate the SNAPvax TV technology in preclinical animal models (Avidea/UMD MIPS Award - 5/17/21). This is in addition to Avidea’s ongoing Collaborative Research and Development Agreement (Avidea/NIH CRADA – 2/23/17) with the NIH’s Vaccine Research Center to evaluate SNAPvax in preclinical models.

“The SAB appointments build upon our existing partnerships with UMD and NIH to significantly expand our capabilities in autoimmunity,” said Lynn. “These relationships are creating a lot of synergy that have already yielded some exciting discoveries we expect will translate to better, more targeted, therapies.”

About Avidea: Avidea is a private biotechnology that is advancing the next generation of safer and more effective T cell immunotherapies for treating cancer and autoimmune diseases. Avidea’s precision immunotherapies are enabled by two polymer-drug conjugate technologies, SNAPvax and SyntholyticTM, which were purpose-built to address the need for improved T cell immunotherapies. The SNAPvax and Syntholytic platforms are enabling a pipeline of immunotherapies that will enter clinical testing in 2022 and 2023. For more information visit www.avideatechnologies.com.

About Christopher Jewell: Prof. Jewell’s research integrates immunology and biomaterials to decipher the interactions between synthetic materials and immune tissues to improve therapeutic vaccines for cancer and autoimmune diseases. He has authored over 100 manuscripts and patents. Prof. Jewell undertook postdoctoral training as a Ragon Institute Fellow with Prof. Darrell Irvine at MIT and as a Visiting Scientist at Harvard with Prof. Dan Barouch in the Division of Vaccine Research. For more information visit: http://jewell.umd.edu.

About Peter Calabresi: Peter A. Calabresi, MD is a Professor of Neurology, Neuroscience, and Ophthalmology at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and Director of the Johns Hopkins Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Center. Dr. Calabresi is also Director of the Richard T. Johnson Division of Neuroimmunology and Neurological Infections. He earned his undergraduate degree from Yale College and medical degree from Brown University. Dr. Calabresi completed residency training at Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester, NY, and a post-doctoral research fellowship at the National Institutes of Health, Neuroimmunology Branch. For more information visit: http://www.calabresilab.com.

Contact: Geoffrey Lynn, PhD, Avidea’s CEO, is available to comment.