Oragenics, Inc. is a development-stage company dedicated to fighting infectious diseases including coronaviruses and multidrug-resistant organisms. Its lead product is Terra CoV-2, an intranasal vaccine candidate to prevent COVID-19 and variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The Terra CoV-2 program leverages coronavirus spike protein research licensed from the NIH and the NRC with a focus on reducing viral transmission and offering a more patient-friendly intranasal administration. Its lantibiotics program features a novel class of antibiotics against bacteria that have developed resistance to commercial antibiotics.
Our mission is focused on developing vaccines and novel antibiotics to prevent and treat today’s and tomorrow’s infections.
Members of our scientific team discovered that a certain bacterial strain, Streptococcus mutans, produces MU1140, a molecule belonging to the novel class of antibiotics known as lantibiotics. Lantibiotics, such as MU1140, are highly modified peptide antibiotics made by a small group of Gram-positive bacterial species. Approximately 60 lantibiotics have been discovered, to date. We believe lantibiotics are generally recognized by the scientific community to be potent antibiotic agents.
In May of 2020, we acquired Noachis Terra, Inc. and as a result, we are now focused on the development and commercialization of a vaccine product candidate to provide long lasting immunity from the novel Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (“SARS-CoV-2”), which causes the coronavirus disease 2019. We are a party to a worldwide, nonexclusive intellectual property and biological materials license agreement with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, an institute within the NIH, relating to certain research, patent applications and biological materials involving pre-fusion stabilized coronavirus spike proteins and their use in the development and commercialization of a vaccine to provide specific, long-lasting immunity from SARS-CoV-2.
In March of 2021, we entered into a material transfer agreement with Biodextris Inc. for the use of three intranasal mucosal adjuvants in our Terra CoV-2 vaccine against COVID-19. Adjuvants are added to vaccines to enhance their immunogenicity. BDX100, BDX300 and BDX301 are proteosome-based adjuvants comprised of proteins and lipopolysaccharides with improved attributes including enhanced immune response, manufacturing efficiency and the benefits of intranasal vaccine administration.
The initial agreement calls for the three intranasal adjuvants to be used in combination with our antigen vaccine candidate as part of the preclinical immunological evaluation of Terra CoV-2, for the prevention of coronavirus disease caused by infection with SARS-CoV-2 virus. The information generated from the studies employing the new intranasal vaccine candidate would potentially support the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Investigational New Drug application and an application to Health Canada to initiate clinical trials. The agreement allows for the future collaboration regarding the intranasal delivery of vaccine during clinical development with the opportunity to enter into a commercial agreement upon regulatory approval of the intranasal vaccine.
In July of 2021, we entered into a licensing agreement with the NRC that will enable us to pursue the rapid development of next-generation vaccines against the SARS-CoV-2 virus and its variants. The NRC technologies, in combination with the NIH elements found in our Terra CoV-2 vaccine, provide us with a platform that can generate cell lines for high-yield production of spike protein antigens for existing and emerging variants of concern. This platform should allow production of cell lines within six to eight weeks of spike gene sequence availability, compared with six to nine months for traditional production of such cell lines. The NRC technologies, developed with support from the NRC’s Pandemic Response Challenge Program, will expedite the evaluation of SARS-CoV-2 antigen candidates in preclinical and clinical studies.