Tonix Pharmaceuticals Holding Corp. (Nasdaq: TNXP) (Tonix or the Company), a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company, announced a collaboration with the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) to plan, seek regulatory approval for and conduct a Phase 1 clinical study in Kenya to develop TNX-8011 as a vaccine to protect against monkeypox and smallpox. The study is expected to start in the first half of 2023.
“We are excited to collaborate with KEMRI on the clinical development of TNX-801 as a vaccine to protect against monkeypox and smallpox in Kenya,” said Seth Lederman, M.D., Chief Executive Officer of Tonix Pharmaceuticals. “Since ending routine vaccination for smallpox in the 1960’s, monkeypox has emerged as a growing problem among people in West and Central Africa. People who received the live virus vaccine for smallpox prior to eradication appear to maintain durable protective immunity against monkeypox. TNX-801 is a live virus vaccine that we believe is closer to the smallpox vaccines used in the U.S. and Europe before 1900 than the modern vaccinia smallpox vaccines. TNX-801 has reduced virulence in animals, and we believe it has the potential for widespread use to protect against monkeypox.”
“KEMRI is excited to plan this clinical trial with Tonix, and ultimately to lead the trial,” said Professor Samuel Kariuki, Director General and CEO of KEMRI. “Monkeypox has spread in Central and West Africa, and there’s a concern that we could begin seeing cases in the Eastern and Central Africa or from foreign travelers. Recently, monkeypox has been reported in over 30 countries outside of Africa that were not endemic for monkeypox virus. We are grateful that Tonix is committed to sponsoring clinical studies and making TNX-801 available for this important problem.”
Professor Matilu Mwau, PhD, of KEMRI said, “The recent global outbreak of monkeypox has exemplified the need to be prepared with a vaccine that is efficacious, that provides for durable immunity and that blocks forward transmission. Tonix’s live virus vaccine technology is designed to achieve these outcomes. The West African strain which has recently spread outside of Africa has a low fatality rate, but the Central African strain is reportedly fatal in approximately 10% of infected individuals. We want Kenya to be prepared with a vaccine that provides protection and can be widely deployed without the need for sterile injections or ultra-cold shipping and storage.”