FDA Grants Soligenix Orphan Drug Designation for the Prevention and Post-Exposure Prophylaxis Against Sudan Ebolavirus Infections

PRINCETON, N.J. — Soligenix, Inc. (Nasdaq: SNGX), a late-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on developing and commercializing products to treat rare diseases where there is an unmet medical need, announced today that the Office of Orphan Products Development of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted orphan drug designation to the active ingredient in SuVax™, the subunit protein vaccine of recombinantly expressed Sudan ebolavirus (SUDV) glycoprotein, for “the prevention and post-exposure prophylaxis against SUDV infection.”

The U.S. Orphan Drug Act is intended to assist and encourage companies to develop safe and effective therapies for the treatment of rare diseases and disorders, defined as one that affects fewer than 200,000 people in the U.S.  In addition to providing a seven-year term of market exclusivity upon final FDA approval, orphan drug designation also positions Soligenix to be able to leverage a wide range of financial and regulatory benefits, including government grants for conducting clinical trials, waiver of expensive FDA user fees for the potential submission of a Biologics License Application (BLA), and certain tax credits.

“SuVax™ is based on our novel vaccine platform which includes three major components: a robust protein manufacturing process that has been demonstrated on multiple protein antigens, a novel nano-emulsion adjuvant which induces broad immunity, and a formulation procedure which enables thermostabilization of the combination of adjuvant and antigen in a single vial,” stated Oreola Donini, PhD, Senior Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer of Soligenix. “The SuVax™ vaccine specifically addresses the potentially lethal Sudan Virus Disease, caused by SUDV. SUDV is a type of ebolavirus for which there is no current treatment or vaccine. The SuVax™ vaccine has demonstrated 100% protection of non-human primates infected with a lethal amount of SUDV. Although vaccines exist for Zaire ebolavirus, they are ineffective against SUDV. With recent outbreaks in 2022 and 2023, developing vaccines for all Ebola type diseases remains an important worldwide priority. The FDA’s decision to grant orphan drug designation signifies an important step for Soligenix as we continue to advance the program and adds significantly to the existing patent estate surrounding this novel technology.”


About SuVax™

SuVax™ is a subunit protein vaccine of recombinantly expressed Sudan Ebola virus glycoprotein, developed in partnership with Dr. Axel Lehrer at the University of Hawaiʽi at Mānoa. The vaccine includes a protein found on the surface of Sudan ebolavirus (SUDV), to engender an appropriate immune response without posing a risk of infection, as well as a novel adjuvant which stimulates both humoral and cell mediated immune responses, in combination with Generally Regarded as Safe (GRAS) excipients that enable lyophilization (i.e., freeze-drying) of the vaccine. The resulting product is manufactured as a heat stable powder in a vial which is reconstituted with generically available water for injection immediately prior to use. SuVax™, as a heat stable protein subunit vaccine, has protected 100% of non-human primates exposed to a lethal injection of SUDV. Stability studies have demonstrated that SuVax™ is heat stable for at least 2 years at temperatures of at least 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit).

Manufacture of the recombinant protein utilized in SuVax™ utilizes a robust protein manufacturing process, developed and tested in other subunit vaccines advanced through clinical testing. Similarly, the selected adjuvant, while novel, has also been independently tested in Phase 1 and Phase 2 clinical studies. SuVax™ can also be expressed as part of a multivalent vaccine, in combination with antigens against Marburg marburgvirus (MARV) for example.


About Sudan ebolavirus Infection 

Ebola-like disease can be caused by one of six species of Ebolavirus, four of which are known to cause disease in humans, including its best-known member, Zaire ebolavirus (EBOV; causing Ebola Virus Disease), with Sudan ebolavirus (SUDV; causing Sudan Virus Disease) being the second-most common cause of human infection. All species of ebolavirus belong to the Filoviridae family, a family that further contains the equally human pathogenic Marburg marburgvirus (MARV). Filoviruses are believed to be harbored in various animal species in Africa, particularly bats, although the specific reservoir host for many of these viruses is still unknown. There have been several known Ebola (both Sudan and Zaire) and Marburg Virus Disease outbreaks since 1967 with the most recent SUDV outbreak occurring in August – October, 2022 in Uganda according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Transmission of filoviruses requires direct contact with bodily fluids from an infected person or contact with infected animals. The mortality rates following filovirus infections are extremely high, and, in the absence of wide availability of effective therapeutics, are affected by the quality of supportive care available with a focus on early initiation of treatment. Resolution of the disease largely depends on the patient’s own immune system. While there are limited treatment options for disease caused by EBOV, there are no available treatments or vaccines available for Sudan Virus Disease. The approved vaccines for EBOV utilize a viral vector approach which has contraindications for some individuals and require stringent, ultra-low cold-chain storage, inhibiting their broad use in challenging conditions where power supply can be uncertain and ambient temperature can be very high.


About Soligenix, Inc.

Soligenix is a late-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on developing and commercializing products to treat rare diseases where there is an unmet medical need. Our Specialized BioTherapeutics business segment is developing and moving toward potential commercialization of HyBryte™ (SGX301 or synthetic hypericin sodium) as a novel photodynamic therapy utilizing safe visible light for the treatment of cutaneous T-cell lymphoma (CTCL). With successful completion of the second Phase 3 study, regulatory approvals will be sought to support potential commercialization worldwide. Development programs in this business segment also include expansion of synthetic hypericin (SGX302) into psoriasis, our first-in-class innate defense regulator (IDR) technology, dusquetide (SGX942) for the treatment of inflammatory diseases, including oral mucositis in head and neck cancer, and (SGX945) in Behçet’s Disease.



Jonathan Guarino

Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Phone  (609) 538-8200