Adjuvants are predominantly used to enable a vaccine to induce a strong immune response including a greater production of antibodies and longer lasting protection against viral and bacterial infections. Novavax has developed a number of adjuvant formulations all based on the proprietary Matrix™ technology. Novavax’ adjuvants possess excellent immunostimulatory features including the ability to increase and prolong the effects of vaccines.
While adjuvants based on novel, poorly charaterized substances have been hampered by safety concerns and limited efficacy, Matrix™ adjuvants stimulate strong antibody and cell-mediated immune responses induced by low antigen doses, long-duration immune responses, and carry a low risk for allergic reactions or other adverse events.
The Matrix™ technology typically induces strong cellular activation of both Th1 and Th2 types, thereby generating all classes and subclasses of antibodies, as well as potent cellular responses, including cytotoxic T lymphocytes.
Antigen-saving reduces production costs
Inducing a strong immune response and reducing the antigen dose needed to stimulate that immune response can significantly reduce the production cost of manufacturing a vaccine. These distinct advantages mean Novavax’ Matrix-M™ adjuvant could be of immense value when faced with inadequate vaccine manufacturing capacity and emerging threats such as Ebola, MERS or an influenza pandemic.
Matrix-M™ is Novavax’ next-generation, patented saponin-based adjuvant, powered by a new formulation that provides a potent adjuvant effect and is well-tolerated. Saponins are steroid or triterpenoid glycosides, which occur in many plant species. In Matrix-M, purified saponin fractions are mixed with synthetic cholesterol and a phospholipid to form stable particles than can be readily formulated with a variety of vaccine antigens. Saponin-based adjuvants act in part by stimulating the entry of antigen-presenting cells into the injection site and enhancing antigen presentation in the local lymph nodes. Thus, Matrix-M™ induces both a cell-mediated and an antibody mediated immune response, which we expect will be important in developing future vaccines. Matrix-M™ also increases the opportunity for an immune reaction with longer duration, which can reduce the number of vaccinations needed to gain optimal protection.
Our past experience with saponin-based adjuvants in both animals and humans indicates that, like all adjuvants, they increase the local reaction at the injection site. However, local reactions are transient and there is no evidence of longer-term systemic toxicity. Saponin-based adjuvants have the ability to stimulate cell-mediated immunity as well as to enhance antibody production; and importantly, when facing rapidly-emerging diseases like Ebola virus disease or pandemic influenza, they can allow immune responses to be achieved with much lower doses of antigen. This translates into the ability to deliver more doses per unit time.