Auravax Therapeutics Announces Formation of Scientific Advisory Board Chaired by George M. Church, PhD
SAB to guide company's rapid development of differentiated therapeutics and vaccines to address a range of respiratory diseases including COVID-19
HOUSTON, May 25, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- AuraVax Therapeutics, Inc. (Auravax), a biotech company developing novel intranasal therapeutics and vaccines to help patients defeat debilitating respiratory diseases, including COVID-19, today announced the formation of its inaugural Scientific Advisory Board (SAB), consisting of leading experts in the fields of biology, vaccines and intranasal drug delivery. The SAB will guide and advise the company in its ongoing development of proprietary therapeutics and vaccines for respiratory diseases.
The SAB is chaired by George M. Church, Ph.D. and includes Stephen Albert Johnston from Calviri, Inc and Mei X. Wu, Ph.D. from Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School.
"AuraVax's intranasally-administered platform technology has the ability to both treat and prevent infection across multiple respiratory viruses, independent of viral evolution," said Dr. Church, the Robert Winthrop Professor of Genetics at Harvard Medical School, Professor of Health Sciences and Technology at Harvard and MIT. "It can rapidly launch an immune response from the nasal passage that extends to provide comprehensive systemic immunity. I am excited to be working with the company to advance its development programs in the critical area of cost-effective therapies for viral diseases such as COVID-19 and influenza using an approach that gives the patient the power to activate their own immune system."
"We are proud and excited to have an accomplished and diverse group of scientific and clinical experts as inaugural members of our Scientific Advisory Board," said Navin Varadarajan, Ph.D., a co-founder of AuraVax. "Their scientific perspectives will prove invaluable in supporting the advancement of AuraVax's development efforts, including our lead program using the STING pathway to address SARS-CoV-2 and influenza."
The AuraVax platform uses nanoparticles that can be stored long term, shipped at room temperature and then simply delivered via intranasal administration by the patient. The platform's applications extend beyond COVID-19 and influenza to other respiratory viruses such as severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS).
Details of the SAB members' biographies:
George Church, Ph.D. — Dr. Church is a pioneer of genome engineering, systems and synthetic biology. He has co-founded more than 14 biotech companies, has authored over 400 papers, and holds 60 patents in his name. Dr. Church is the Robert Winthrop Professor of Genetics at Harvard Medical School, a Professor of Health Sciences and Technology at Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and a core faculty member of the Wyss Institute. He is the Principal Investigator of the Center for Genomically Engineered Organs (CGEO), the Harvard/MIT DOE Genomes-to-Life Center, the Lipper Center for Computational Genetics, and is a founding core member of the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering.
Dr. Church was elected to the National Academy of Sciences (2011) and Engineering (2012), and the Franklin Institute's Bower Award for Achievement in Science (2011). He holds a Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from Harvard University.
Stephen Albert Johnston — Dr. Johnston is currently the director for the Center for Innovations in Medicine (CIM) at The Biodesign Institute and a professor in the School of Life Sciences at Arizona State University. He is founding CEO of Calviri, Inc, which is developing diagnostics for the early detection of cancer and cancer vaccines.
Johnston has experience in basic science, notably first cloning the Gal4 gene, showing that proteins have separable functional domains, and discovering the AAA proteins and their role in transcription. His focus now is in translational sciences and technology development. He was co-inventor/innovator of pathogen derived resistance, organelle transformation, the gene gun, genetic immunization, TEV protease system, expression library immunization, linear expression elements, synbodies and immunosignature diagnostics. He is author of over 200 journal articles and has over 45 patents.
Mei X. Wu, Ph.D. — Dr. Wu is an associate professor in the Wellman Center for Photomedicine, Department of Dermatology, at Massachusetts General Brigham (MGB) in Harvard Medical School (HMS). She is the inventor of pulmonary surfactant-biomimetic nanoparticles engineered for safe and effective intranasal delivery of adjuvant or therapeutic molecules to help patients defeat debilitating respiratory diseases. She has extensive experience in immunology, virology, vaccinology, and laser medicines and over 100 peer-reviewed publications. She is a pioneer in the development of laser-based vaccine adjuvants, blood-free detection of circulating biomarkers, and noninvasive low-level light therapy for thrombocytopenia.
AuraVax Therapeutics, Inc. ("AuraVax") is a privately held biotechnology company developing a proprietary and differentiated platform of vaccines and therapeutics for respiratory diseases. Its lead candidates are an intranasal therapeutic and vaccine for COVID-19. Its next-generation platform aims to combine the ease of use of "at-home" administration, superior logistical handling versus the first generation of COVID-19 vaccines with the delivery of comprehensive immunity with application in humans and animals. The technology has been validated for COVID-19 in published, peer-reviewed pre-clinical studies with immunity measured by both B-cell and T-cell responses.
For additional information about Auravax, visit www.auravax.com or contact:
Matthew J. Meyer
+1 415 947-2097
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SOURCE AuraVax Therapeutics Inc.