Viscogel was founded in 2008 with the objective to continue the development of a novel high quality chitosan. The company was started by professionals with long-term experience from the pharmaceutical industry. At the core of the company is the proprietary chitosan technology and know-how used to develop solutions for improved vaccines and drugs. The vaccine adjuvant project has demonstrated safety and efficacy in a Phase I/II clinical trial.
Chitosan is a derivate obtained from chitin, which is a commonly occurring polysaccharide that can be found in hard structures in nature. Current use of chitosan includes hemostatic products, water purification, cosmetics and food. Chitosan’s antimicrobial and immuno-stimulating properties make it attractive for medical applications. The utility of standard chitosan is however limited due to issues with low quality and lack of solubility at physiological pH, which is a major hurdle for the use of chitosan in pharmaceutical development. Viscosan® and ViscoGel® have overcome these issues.
Viscogel has developed a technology that provides:
-> Viscosan®, a medical-grade chitosan with novel physical and biological properties.
-> ViscoGel®, a viscoelastic hydrogel based on Viscosan® with highly useful properties and potential to improve vaccines and drugs.
-> Viscomulsion®, an emulsion technology enabling efficient drug delivery solutions.
The technology is regulatory uncomplicated and the manufacturing process is well-controlled with low COGS.
Global health issues tied to vaccines as well as pandemics such as swine flu, keep vaccines a key focal point for the pharma industry. The global humane vaccine market is estimated at USD 28bn (2010) and expected to grow at rate of 11,5% annually during 2007–2017 (GBI Research). Only 4 adjuvants have been licensed in the EU and US combined. Aluminum hydroxide (alum) is the most commonly used adjuvant worldwide. ViscoGel® is more effective than alum and has the desired properties to become a versatile, safe and effective adjuvant attractive for human and veterinary vaccines.
ViscoGel® as an adjuvant has demonstrated safety and efficacy in a Phase I/II clinical trial using a model vaccine. Adding ViscoGel® to the vaccine resulted in an increased antibody response and a significantly stronger cellular response compared to the vaccine only.
Several evaluations (under MTA’s) together with vaccine development companies are ongoing in which ViscoGel® is combined with vaccines and evaluated in different animal models.
The drug delivery market is significant and has been identified as of interest to initially develop the company’s proprietary technologies. Properties such as mucoadhesiveness, unique stability, and controlled release features have the potential of adding value to products and patient benefit.
2010 -> Start of the ViVac-project through EU research grant (EUR 1.2 million)
2011 -> Pre-clinical Proof–of-Concept for ViscoGel® as an adjuvant published in Vaccine
-> Toxicology studies successfully concluded
2013 -> Proof-of-Concept for ViscoGel® as a vaccine adjuvant in Phase I/II clinical trial.