Vivaldi Biosciences is a clinical-stage biotechnology company developing live attenuated influenza vaccines (LAIVs) to address the most pressing public health issues of influenza: the need for a rapid and effective response to emerging pandemics with vaccines that are easily administered, safe and protective, and the need for vaccines that protect the most vulnerable populations – seniors and young children – against seasonal influenza. These age groups suffer disproportionately from influenza and its serious complications, but are poorly served by conventional influenza vaccines.
Vivaldi’s LAIV technology platform uses the biology of the influenza NS1 protein to provide a new vaccine approach with the potential for superior efficacy and protection. When the influenza virus causes disease, it uses NS1 to fend off the body’s immune response mediated by interferon. Vivaldi’s LAIVs incorporate genetically modified influenza vaccine strains that lack NS1 activity yet elicit a potent immune response. Instead of blocking interferon, Vivaldi’s LAIVs promote interferon production and immunity in the recipient.
Administered as a nasal spray, Vivaldi’s LAIVs generate a robust immune response in the nasal passages as a first line of defense at the natural point of entry of circulating viruses, and systemic antibody and T-cell immune responses. Stimulation of interferon generates a self-adjuvanting effect, enhancing immunity. The unique mode of action of Vivaldi’s LAIVs generates a more potent and complete immune response than that induced by conventional inactivated influenza vaccines (“flu shots”).
Development of flu vaccines that provide greater protection against seasonal and pandemic influenza is a high priority for public health. The ultimate goal is a “universal influenza vaccine” that provides durable protection against all seasonal and pandemic influenza strains for all age groups. Vivaldi’s LAIV technology provides a promising approach toward attaining this important goal, with key characteristics of a universal vaccine: potent immunogenicity, antibodies cross-reactive with distantly related influenza strains, potential licensure for a broad age range, rapid development of vaccine strains, and an efficient manufacturing process.