An NIH Small Business Innovation Research grant to BlueWillow Biologics recently to develop an intranasal vaccine called NanoVax that could prevent chlamydia. There are over 131 million new infections of chlamydia every year with no current vaccine to help stop the infection.
Most chlamydia cases go unreported or treated because most people have no symptoms and don’t feel they need to be tested. However, untreated chlamydia in females can cause a range of health problems such as pelvic inflammatory disease, which leads to irreparable damage to the fallopian tubes, uterus and tissue in the area. PID can also lead to infertility, ectopic pregnancies and constant pelvic pain.
BlueWillow, formerly called NanoBio Corporation, was given the one-year Phase 1 SBIR grant by the NIH’s Allergy and Infectious Diseases agency. The grant will fund vivo studies that will combine its NanoVax technology with Dr. James Mahony’s chlamydia antigen that he developed at the Hamilton, Ontario McMaster University.
Chlamydia that goes undiagnosed means patients are not getting the antibiotics they need to treat the infection. Mahony said the NanoVax vaccine coinciding with the novel BD484 antigen could stop the infection from taking hold, decreasing the number of PID cases. With fewer PID cases, fewer women suffer from infertility and pain and the costs of healthcare decreases.
He said the vaccine could have a significant positive impact on people’s quality of life and their reproductive health.
The NanoVax platform uses a unique oil-in-water nanoemulsion that causes both a mucosal and systemic immune responses that could potentially play a key role in stopping STIs like chlamydia.
According to initial tests, NanoVax mixed with the mucosal immunity induction and intranasal vaccination has lowered the risk of both PID and chlamydia infections. The grant allows the company to continue its research in the hopes that it can offer a preventive solution that allows for clinical trials.
With a plethora of undiagnosed STIs, BlueWillow is working hard to come up with solutions that address the worldwide health crisis.