MyLife Technologies raises US$4.0 million to further develop its vaccine delivery technology
Painless ceramic vaccine patches for 'Pandemic Preparedness'.
MyLife Technologies, a Dutch vaccine and drug delivery company, focusing on the development of ceramic vaccine patches for the simple, efficient and painless administration of vaccines through the skin, has raised US$4.0 million from Dutch investors Fare Capital, SAL Beheer, informal investors and its existing shareholders. This new funding enables Leiden based MyLife to start production of the vaccine patches for clinical studies and invest with partners in demonstration projects against COVID-19, HPV and in vaccine therapy against a variety of cancers. MyLife foresees a next series A investment round of an estimated US$17.5 million in early 2023 for the construction of a pilot plant and expansion of activities to the US and Asia.
Delivery of vaccines through the skin is many times more efficient than through a standard injection into a muscle. MyLife is working on a reduction of vaccine doses by a factor 5 to 20 to achieve the same protection with fewer side effects. The top layers of the skin contain special immune cells that can absorb vaccines against viruses and bacteria. These special cells do not normally occur in the muscles. With injections into muscles, additional chemicals, so-called adjuvants, are used to draw those cells to 2 the injection site in order to achieve a sufficient immune response. When delivered via the skin, these adjuvants are generally unnecessary.
Improved shelf life and painless administration
In addition, MyLife improves existing or new vaccines with its ceramic materials into a stable, dry product that can be kept at normal temperatures. This saves a lot of time, money and product loss on the current expensive and complex cold chain transport and storage. The design of these ceramic patches makes application easy and painless. That offers solutions for many people with needle anxiety or trypanophobia. The ceramic patch is applied within 30 seconds like any other patch and after a few minutes simply removed and disposed of as normal residual waste.
Less vaccine substance per treatment, fewer side effects, no needle anxiety and (much) lower costs
The solution that MyLife Technologies is currently working on could well be used for early containment of potential epidemics/pandemics (‘Pandemic Preparedness’) and offers affordable solutions for vaccinations in middle and low-income countries. To this end, MyLife Technologies is already working with international vaccine companies and is in contact with global NGOs such as PATH, GAVI, CEPI and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. For example, work is being done on a more accessible administration of vaccines against COVID-19, Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), Influenza and therapeutic vaccines against various cancers.
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Protecting the vulnerable
Mike de Leeuw, CEO of MyLife, says: “With only the first 5 to 10 grams of active vaccine substance (= the weight of one to two sugar cubes) on our ceramic patches, up to 1 million people could receive a first vaccination within one week… That would have been enough in many countries to contain the first outbreaks of SARS-CoV2, or to contain the recent outbreaks of Ebola. Our approach to control outbreaks provides the opportunity to protect essential employees and vulnerable people in the event of the next wave of infection with a mutated or a new virus. Then we are not talking about the savings on costs of a syringe or cold chain distribution, but about survival of vulnerable people and the overall damage of a lock-down.”
“Also, our ceramic patches can provide a significant improvement in public vaccination campaigns against for instance HPV and COVID: a simple patch, no pain, less vaccine needed, to be applied in a less stressful environment and easy to repeat for a booster.”
Preventing cervical cancer
Dr. Jogchum Beltman PhD, Gynecologist & Oncologist at the LUMC, adds: “At least as important is lowering barriers to vaccination against HPV, better known as the cause of cervical cancer. HPV is a sexually transmitted virus that causes 5% of all new cancers every year in the EU and US, in both men and women. Cervical cancer is still a major problem in low-wage countries because that is where 85% of the half-million cases worldwide occur each year. Cervical cancer is now one of the fourth most common cancers in the world. While this disease can be prevented by, among other things, vaccination. That is why the WHO has now also made this a spearhead project”.
Vaccination for lifelong protection against HPV is most effective in young people between the ages of 12-15. But many young people are afraid of getting an injection in during typical vaccination campaigns. This, together with peer pressure and various taboos among groups of parents, means that the turnout for free HPV vaccinations still fluctuates between 40%-60%.
About MyLife Technologies
MyLife Technologies is based in Leiden, the Netherlands. The company started in 2012 as a spin-off of the Dutch University of Twente MESA+ research institute. The company aims to commercialize its innovative ceramic patch (Micro-Needle Array Patch) for intradermal administration of vaccines and drugs.
Made of inert ceramic material, the patch contains about a hundred microscopic needles. They only penetrate the outer skin layer, but never reach the sensitive nerves or blood vessels. This makes the application and administration of vaccines or medicines completely painless, comparable to any other skin patch. The porous structure of the patented ceramic material can hold and deliver up to 50x more vaccine material or drug substances than microneedles made of other materials.
MyLife’s dermal delivery technology offers an attractive alternative to specific parenteral formulations, oral dosage forms or nasal dosage forms.