HanaVax is developing novel vaccines to prevent diseases that still pose challenges to human health. Our strength lies in our ability to stimulate protective mucosal as well as systemic immunity. This establishes two levels of defense, in contrast to most injected vaccines that stimulate only systemic, blood-based immunity.

Our core technology is based on deep understanding of immunology at our bodies' mucosal interfaces with the outside environment. In particular, HanaVax is developing vaccines administered by small painless sprays into the nose. These take advantage of novel delivery formulations developed in the University of Tokyo and Kyoto University for protein antigens. These formulations retain the antigens on respiratory mucosal surfaces long time and initiate antigen-specific immune responses via the mucosal immune system. This results in more effective uptake, processing and presentation of the antigens by immune cells (e.g., nasal dendritic cells), which in turn results in strong antigen-specific T cell and B cell immune responses at both mucosal surfaces and in the systemic circulation for the protective immunity.

This vaccination method has been shown to induce protective immunity against pneumococcal pneumonia in nonhuman primates. HanaVax is pushing forward development of a human pneumococcal nasal vaccine to prevent pneumonia, sepsis and otitis media. The specific antigens have been selected in collaboration research partners in the University of Alabama at Birmingham to provide nearly complete coverage of all forms of disease-causing pneumococcus. The antigens are genetically engineered using one of the most sophisticated systems available.

Research is ongoing to adapt HanaVax's proprietary mucosal delivery system to other pathogens.

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