AntoXa Corporation is committed to producing high-value biopharmaceuticals to meet demand for safe, effective medical countermeasures against weaponized chemical and biological agents as well as naturally occurring outbreaks of infectious disease. Our goal is to save lives by protecting military personnel and civilians from emerging global threats to national security and public health.
PhD9 to neutralize ricin
AntoXa is using the vivoXPRESS® system to produce an innovator antibody (PhD9) being studied by Defence Research and Development Canada (DRDC) as an antidote to ricin exposure.
Ricin is a naturally occurring toxin from the Castorbean plant. It is considered a category B threat agent by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention due to its accessibility, ease of production and extreme lethality. No therapeutic antibody or vaccine is currently available to counteract its deadly effects. The PhD9 antibody drug candidate developed by DRDC prevents ricin from penetrating cells.
DRDC has conducted in vitro and in vivo studies that found the plant-made version of the antibody showed therapeutic efficacy against ricin intoxication that was comparable to hD9 produced using mammalian cell technology. The findings were presented at the Antibody Engineering and Therapeutics Conference in December 2015.
Butyrylcholinesterase (BuChE) to protect against nerve agents
AntoXa and the Government of Canada are co-developing butyrylcholinesterase (BuChE) as a next-generation therapeutic and prophylactic countermeasure to organophosphate toxins such as sarin and soman.
BuChE is a naturally occurring plasma enzyme that provides broad-spectrum protection against all nerve agents. Purified human BuChE has been proven efficacious in animal models; however, its development has been limited by relatively low production yield compared to very high cost as well as the inherent risk of human pathogen transmission from the plasma derived product. AntoXa has produced a high-yield, low-cost recombinant BuChE using the vivoXPRESS® platform and successfully evaluated the safety of the product in an animal model.
Antibodies against Ebola
Antibodies produced using the vivoXPRESS® biopharmaceutical manufacturing system have been shown to neutralize the Sudan strain of Ebola as well as antibodies produced using other systems, according to analyses performed by the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) with funding support and technical advisory services from the National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC-IRAP).
Building upon the USAMRIID project, our team worked with University of New Mexico scientists to advance Ebola research and improve existing vaccines by inducing more effective immune responses to infection. The project employed the vivoXPRESS® system to express glycoproteins found on Filoviridae, the family of viruses that cause Ebola and Marburg disease, two severe and often fatal viral hemorrhagic fevers that afflict humans and non-human primates.
Fast, low-cost, versatile and scaleable production
AntoXa holds an exclusive licence to use PlantForm Corporation’s vivoXPRESS® biopharmaceutical manufacturing platform to produce countermeasures for ricin, sarin, soman and the Ebola Sudan virus, as well as other biodefense therapeutics. This tobacco-plant-based system makes it easier, faster and less expensive to produce high-quality biologic drugs for novel indications and new markets.
Key advantages of the vivoXPRESS® platform include:
- rapid drug development and production timelines
- high levels of drug expression
- mammalian-type glycosylation (less risk of unwanted immune reactions)
- reduced risk profiles versatility (for new product development)
- unlimited scale-up capability (to respond quickly to increased demand), and
- manufacturing costs as much as 90 per cent lower than those for mammalian cell technology systems.
Patented next-generation therapeutics
The AntoXa team continues to advance the vivoXPRESS® platform, which originated at the University of Guelph through the work of Dr. J. Christopher Hall. All relevant intellectual property is protected by seven families of patent filings, with three patents issued to date.
Our product pipeline includes innovator antibodies for treatment of ricin exposure as well as the Ebola virus (Sudan strain), and recombinant butyrylcholinesterase (BuChE), an enzyme used as preventative medicine for people vulnerable to attack by nerve agents, organophosphates or other stimulants.