Flow Pharma is a Pleasant Hill, California-based company developing preventative immunotherapies and vaccines for breast cancer and human infectious diseases like HPV, ebola, Marburg virus, and COVID-19.
Flow Pharma uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) to select small peptides called neoantigens on the surface of cancer cells optimal for killer T-cell attack identified by gene sequencing a patient's cancer cells. These peptides can be synthesized, loaded into FlowPharma's FlowVax therapeutic cancer vaccine platform, and injected into the patient to expand killer T-cells which can recognize and kill cancer cells expressing those neoantigen peptides. Flow Pharma is creating patient-specific, neoantigen based, immuno oncology therapeutics initially focused on cervical cancer (orphan drug application for advanced, metastatic disease), breast cancer and malignant melanoma.
The company says that each FlowVax vaccine dose is custom designed through gene sequencing of the patient's cancer and subsequent analysis using Flow Pharma's proprietary AI technology. Flow Pharma says that the final formulation will contain peptides targeting both the CD4+ and killer T-cell response optimized for the patient being treated. The identified virus-specific class I and class II neoantigens will then be incorporated into the FlowVax proprietary, biodegradable microsphere vaccine platform for delivery by injection into an inguinal lymph node after re-constitution with saline solution. The final formulation contains a mixture of microspheres each containing individual virus-specific class I and II peptides.
The microspheres are precision-manufactured out of a biodegradable polymer (PLGA) to be the same size as antigen presenting cells. Flow Pharma says this is important because if more than one peptide antigen is presented at the same time, the desired immune response to both peptides may not occur because of competitive inhibition. By putting only one type of peptide antigen in each microsphere, only that peptide will be taken up by an antigen presenting cell because two spheres cannot fit into a cell at the same time. The company calls this approach Size Exclusion Antigen Presentation Control, or SEAPAC for short. The SEAPAC approach is covered by issued patents in Australia, Canada, the United States and the European Union.
The company incorporates two adjuvants into the formulation. These adjuvants (MPLA and CpG) have both been used in vaccines which have been approved by the U.S. FDA. The PLGA polymer that is used in the microsphere manufacturing is the same material used in absorbable suture material and has been used to micro encapsulate peptides in FDA approved pharmaceutical products.
Flow Pharma created the nc3db to address the current needs of the scientific community working on SARS-CoV-2. The company says that sequences are checked for quality and displayed quickly with minimum administrative overhead. Files for download are checked for the correct hash integrity value and digitally signed to ensure they are in the same state as when they were initially uploaded, according to the company.
All data uploaded to the genome database are made available under the Creative Commons Attribution License.
Flow Pharma is developing FlowVax COVID-19, which is being designed to generate a robust immune response to protect individuals against infection with SARS-CoV-2 by targeting parts of the virus least likely to mutate. FlowVax COVID-19 is a room temperature stable dry powder not requiring refrigeration, and is being developed for delivery by injection or inhalation.
FlowVax COVID-19 is entering primate testing April 2020 at the University of Texas Medical Branch / Galveston National Laboratory.
On February 28, 2018 Flow Pharma announced raising $1.1 million in venture funding from undisclosed investors.
On February 28, 2018 Flow Pharma received a convertible note worth $2.3 million from and undisclosed investor.
The company announced that Oakwood Laboratories, headquartered in Oakwood Village Ohio (a suburb of Cleveland) will begin working with Flow Pharma to interface Oakwood's microsphere based, GMP pharmaceutical manufacturing operations to the FlowVax vaccine platform manufacturing system.
The company announced that researchers at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston (UTMB) will begin testing Flow Pharma's FlowVax COVID-19 vaccine candidate by challenging nonhuman primates with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19 in humans, after the animals are vaccinated this month with FlowVax COVID-19. FlowVax vaccines utilize Flow Pharma's patented Size Exclusion Antigen Presentation Control (SEAPAC(TM)) technology based on the benefits of making vaccine microspheres the same size as human white blood cells.