Altimmune, Inc. (NASDAQ: ALT), a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company, announced Friday the advancement of a novel single-dose, intranasal vaccine using Altimmune’s proprietary technology to protect against COVID-19, the disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Altimmune has completed the design and synthesis of the vaccine and is now advancing it toward animal testing and manufacturing. Shares of the company jumped more than 100% Friday.
“With the spread of COVID-19 outside of China, including the first case of unknown origin in the United States, we have taken action to develop and make our vaccine technology available to help address this crisis,” said Vipin K. Garg, Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer of Altimmune. “We believe that our intranasal vaccine technology is especially well suited to provide systemic protection against respiratory infections that affect the upper and lower airways and can therefore be a useful tool in preventing further spread of COVID-19. As such, we are actively engaged in discussions with a number of potential partners.”
The new intranasal vaccine is based on the same platform vaccine technology as NasoVAX, the company’s influenza vaccine candidate. Like NasoVAX, the COVID-19 vaccine is designed to provide systemic immunity following a single intranasal dose. A recent Phase 2 clinical study with NasoVAX highlighted the ability of intranasal vaccine delivery to stimulate a durable and broad immune response against the influenza virus.
Altimmune believes the clinical profile of NasoVAX is particularly relevant to COVID-19 because intranasal delivery directs the immune response where it is needed most to protect against respiratory infection, including the likely site of initial viral attack. Clinical testing of the vaccine could begin as early as August.
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