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GeoVax Expands Rights Under NIH COVID-19 License to Include Mpox and Smallpox

ATLANTA, GA, December 19, 2023 – GeoVax Labs, Inc. (Nasdaq: GOVX), a biotechnology company developing immunotherapies and vaccines against cancers and infectious diseases, today announced that it has amended a previously executed Patent and Biological Materials License Agreement (the “License Agreement”) with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), in support of GeoVax’s development of a vaccine against SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19). The amendment expands GeoVax’s commercial license to include Mpox and smallpox as additional indications.

The License Agreement, as amended, allows GeoVax to use these materials and patent rights owned by agencies of the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in combination with the Company’s proprietary technology for the creation of preventive Modified Vaccinia Ankara Virus-Virus Like Particle (MVA-VLP) vaccines that prime and/or boost the immune system against SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) as well as Mpox and/or smallpox. Financial terms of the License Agreement were not disclosed.

Potential Benefit of the Additional Indications

Modified Vaccinia Ankara (MVA) is the vaccine currently used and stockpiled in the U.S. Strategic National Stockpile for immunization against the Mpox and smallpox viruses. GeoVax previously demonstrated that an experimental HIV vaccine, utilizing MVA as the vaccine vector, protected non-human primates challenged with a lethal dose of the Mpox virus (publication accessible here). Further, in August 2022, researchers at the City of Hope National Medical Center (COH) published results demonstrating that both their proprietary sMVA (synthetic MVA) and GEO-CM04S1 (publication accessible here) elicited robust orthopoxvirus-specific binding and neutralizing antibody responses.

GeoVax’s COVID-19 vaccine candidates, which can induce strong antibody and T cell responses against the variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, also offers the possibility of protection against Mpox and smallpox diseases, further differentiating GEO-CM04S1 as compared to current mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccines. Such attributes may be especially important in vulnerable patient populations, such as the immune-compromised, as well as in geographic areas where both diseases are endemic. Such a vaccine may offer a simplified vaccine regimen for protection against diseases associated with SARS-CoV-2 and orthopoxviruses.

David Dodd, GeoVax President and CEO, commented, “We are delighted to have secured these expanded rights to the NIH MVA technology for further development and commercial use together with our ongoing COVID-19 vaccine program. The addition of the Mpox and smallpox indications to our NIAID License Agreement complements GeoVax’s license agreement with COH for GEO-CM04S1, which we also recently amended to obtain development and commercialization rights against orthopoxviruses in addition to SARS-CoV-2. Orthopoxviruses include Mpox, smallpox, and other viruses that cause disease in humans.”

Mr. Dodd continued, “We anticipate that the addition of the Mpox/Smallpox indication to an MVA-vectored COVID-19 vaccine is a viable regulatory pathway and may be an important product differentiator from other competitors. For those regions/populations where Mpox and/or smallpox may be of a concern, we believe our COVID-19 vaccine will be a better choice.”

About GeoVax

GeoVax Labs, Inc. is a clinical-stage biotechnology company developing novel therapies and vaccines for solid tumor cancers and many of the world’s most threatening infectious diseases. The company’s lead program in oncology is a novel oncolytic solid tumor gene-directed therapy, Gedeptin®, presently in a multicenter Phase 1/2 clinical trial for advanced head and neck cancers. GeoVax’s lead infectious disease candidate is GEO-CM04S1, a next-generation COVID-19 vaccine targeting high-risk immunocompromised patient populations. Currently in three Phase 2 clinical trials, GEO-CM04S1 is being evaluated as a primary vaccine for immunocompromised patients such as those suffering from hematologic cancers and other patient populations for whom the current authorized COVID-19 vaccines are insufficient, and as a booster vaccine in patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). In addition, GEO-CM04S1 is in a Phase 2 clinical trial evaluating the vaccine as a more robust, durable COVID-19 booster among healthy patients who previously received the mRNA vaccines. GeoVax has a leadership team who have driven significant value creation across multiple life science companies over the past several decades. For more information, visit our website: www.geovax.com.

Forward-Looking Statements

This release contains forward-looking statements regarding GeoVax’s business plans. The words “believe,” “look forward to,” “may,” “estimate,” “continue,” “anticipate,” “intend,” “should,” “plan,” “could,” “target,” “potential,” “is likely,” “will,” “expect” and similar expressions, as they relate to us, are intended to identify forward-looking statements. We have based these forward-looking statements largely on our current expectations and projections about future events and financial trends that we believe may affect our financial condition, results of operations, business strategy and financial needs. Actual results may differ materially from those included in these statements due to a variety of factors, including whether: GeoVax is able to obtain acceptable results from ongoing or future clinical trials of its investigational products, GeoVax’s immuno-oncology products and preventative vaccines can provoke the desired responses, and those products or vaccines can be used effectively, GeoVax’s viral vector technology adequately amplifies immune responses to cancer antigens, GeoVax can develop and manufacture its immuno-oncology products and preventative vaccines with the desired characteristics in a timely manner, GeoVax’s immuno-oncology products and preventative vaccines will be safe for human use, GeoVax’s vaccines will effectively prevent targeted infections in humans, GeoVax’s immuno-oncology products and preventative vaccines will receive regulatory approvals necessary to be licensed and marketed, GeoVax raises required capital to complete development, there is development of competitive products that may be more effective or easier to use than GeoVax’s products, GeoVax will be able to enter into favorable manufacturing and distribution agreements, and other factors, over which GeoVax has no control.

Further information on our risk factors is contained in our periodic reports on Form 10-Q and Form 10-K that we have filed and will file with the SEC. Any forward-looking statement made by us herein speaks only as of the date on which it is made. Factors or events that could cause our actual results to differ may emerge from time to time, and it is not possible for us to predict all of them. We undertake no obligation to publicly update any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future developments or otherwise, except as may be required by law. 

 

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