Fina Bio, Immunomic Therapeutics and 12 other Local Biotechs Nominated for Vaccine Industry Excellence Awards

March 5, 2019

Every April, the Vaccine Industry Excellence Awards (ViE Awards) are held at the World Vaccine Congress to honor and generate recognition of the efforts, accomplishments, and positive contributions of companies and individuals across the global vaccine industry.

This year, there are 14 BioHealth Capital Region companies nominated for awards, including Fine Biosolutions (@FinaBio1) and Immunomic Therapeutics (@Immunomix) which are both up for the ‘Best New Vaccine Technology/Platform Award’.  Maryland companies had a great showing last year as well, many taking home ViE awards, and showing why this region is such an important world-wide hub for vaccine development.

Fina Biosolutions

Fina Biosolutions, run by Dr. Andrew Lees, is a premier provider of conjugate vaccine laboratory and consulting services for the Biotech and Vaccine industry throughout the world. Last year the company received a patent for the expression and purification of the conjugate vaccine protein CRM197 in E.coli, a key component of many vaccine formulations utilized worldwide.  

The significance of their new proprietary method of production is that it increases the efficiency, providing a more cost-effective way to produce many critically important vaccines that are needed around the world. “Our goal is to reduce the vaccine cost barrier and grant people in need access to life-saving vaccines,” said Dr. Andrew Lees, Founder and CEO of Fina Biosolutions. “We couldn’t be more pleased to announce that we succeeded in creating a needed vaccine protein, CRM197,in an efficient and more cost-effective way.”  Many others were pleased as well. In fact, in November of 2018 Fina licensed their CRM197 vaccine component to PATH for use in low-income countries.

Immunomic Therapeutics

Immunomic Therapeutics’ investigational UNITE platform uniquely combines their proprietary lysosomal targeting technology, optimal use of adjuvants, antigen selection and optimization, a breadth of delivery methods, and the ability to manufacture material at a large scale. This approach could put UNITE at the crossroads of immunotherapies in a number of illnesses, including cancer, allergy and infectious diseases. ITI’s lysosomal targeting technology is currently being employed in a Phase II clinical trial as a cancer immunotherapy.

ITI has been an exciting company to watch after two landmark licensing deals in 2015 for allergic diseases that resulted in over $315M in licensing revenue.  Another reason they are exciting to watch is for the patient and community engagement they do that shows how committed they are to their mission. For instance, CEO, Bill Hearl notably opened up his lab as a private incubator for an emerging biotech company in 2017. Later that year they also announced a travel fund program for any patients enrolled in their Phase II clinical study to treat glioblastoma multiforme (GBM).  Last year, ITI and Astellas won for ‘Best Therapeutic Vaccine’ for their peanut vaccine, so we’ll know in about a month if they can take home 2-in-a-row.

Regretfully, voting for the ViE Awards closed late last week so we are a day late and a dollar short for helping drum up some extra votes for your favorite local company.  We still wanted to recognize them all for their accomplishments and wish them luck at this year’s awards ceremony.

Here are all of the nominees from Maryland:

Best CRO

  • Advanced BioScience Laboratories (ABL)
  • Linical Accelovance Group

Best Production/Process Development Award

  • BD LifeSciences
  • Fina BioSolutions
  • MaxCyte
  • Vigene

Best Contract Manufacturing Organization Award

  • Advanced BioScience Laboratories (ABL)
  • Emergent BioSolutions
  • Paragon Bioservices
  • Vigene

Best New Vaccine Technology/platform Award

  • Fina BioSolutions –  CRM197 conjugate vaccine carrier
  • Immunomic Therapeutics – UNITE Platform

Best Academic Research Team Award

  • J Craig Venter Institute, Dr Richard Scheuermann

Best Prophylactic Vaccine (Approved or In Development) Award

  • Lyme Disease Vaccine, Valneva
  • Maternal RSV, Novavax
  • Nanoflu vaccine, Novavax
  • NuThrax Anthrax vaccine, Emergent BioSolutions

Best Pharma Company Award

  • GSK Vaccines
  • Novavax

Good luck to all of the nominees! Tune in on April 15th for the Awards Ceremony and see who is able to take home the best in vaccine excellence.

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