Under $6.745 Million Grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Micron Biomedical, Inc. (Micron) recently received a second tranche of funding ($2.6M) to continue clinical development of its microneedle-based technology for measles and rubella vaccination from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. This work leverages Micron’s technology, which has already been successfully evaluated in clinical studies including a Phase 1 trial of an FDA-approved seasonal influenza vaccine.
Micron’s applicator-free technology is well-suited for the administration of vaccines and, in particular, for measles-rubella vaccination in low- and middle-income countries as it is designed to offer the following benefits and advantages over vaccination by standard hypodermic needle and syringe: strong immune response due to vaccine delivery to the skin, rich in immune system cells; administration by minimally-trained personnel; generation of sharps-free waste; small footprint; no need for reconstitution prior to use; and potential to reduce or eliminate the need for cold chain transportation and storage. “These benefits, along with the fact that the technology is painless, aim to increase recipients’ and vaccinators’ compliance and acceptability,” said Steven Damon, Micron’s CEO.
According to an April 7,2020 Nature article, “Why measles deaths are surging — and coronavirus could make it worse,” there has been a 58% increase in measles cases and related deaths from 2016 to 2018, estimated to be 10 million worldwide with 140,000 deaths in 2018. Experts say the surge in measles cases and deaths worldwide is a result of multiple factors including the lack of access to vaccinations in poor countries, the refusal to vaccinate children in richer countries and the suspension of measle vaccinations to focus on pandemics like COVID-19.
“We’re committed to utilizing our technology and experience towards the goal of achieving elimination of measles and rubella, which can be devastating to children and families, especially in poorer countries. We are honored to be supported by the Gates Foundation as we continue our work together,” said Steven Damon.
Regarding Micron Biomedical:
Micron is an Atlanta-based company whose microneedle technology was initially developed in Mark Prausnitz’s lab at Georgia Tech. Co-founded by Mark Prausnitz, PhD, Devin McAllister, PhD and Sebastien Henry, MS, MBA, Micron has further developed the technology and emerged as a leader in the field of dissolvable microneedle-based, vaccine and drug delivery technology. Micron’s partners and funders include the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, UNICEF, Georgia Research Alliance, and several private and public undisclosed pharmaceutical companies.