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Hoth Surges on Collaboration With Voltron for COVID-19 Vaccine

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Shares of clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company, Hoth Therapeutics, Inc. HOTH, surged 35.26% after it announced that it has reached an agreement with Voltron Therapeutics, Inc. to form a joint venture for a Self-Assembling Vaccine (SAV) for the potential prevention of the coronavirus (COVID-19).

The joint entity will be called HaloVax. Based on VaxCelerate, this SAV platform was exclusively licensed by Voltron from the Vaccine and Immunotherapy Center (VIC) at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH).  The VaxCelerate vaccine platform enables the rapid generation and pre-clinical testing of a new vaccine against specific pathogen targets.

The technology has obtained funding from the Department of Defense (DoD) and demonstrated proof of concept in Lassa Fever, which is an emerging infectious disease.

Both companies will jointly explore and develop this SAV technology as a means to help patients at risk of being infected with COVID-19. The vaccine focuses on both DNA and internal/external mutated proteins providing the immune system with more potential targets to attack.

Per the agreement, Hoth shall be granted the right to receive single-digit royalties from the sale of any products developed. It shall also have the right to acquire up to a 30% equity interest in HaloVax.

Hoth’s shares have lost 39.6% in the year so far compared with the industry’s 16.6% decline.

Given the widespread outbreak of COVID-19, many pharma/biotech companies are joining the race to develop treatments for the same. In particular, efforts to develop a vaccine to combat this deadly virus have accelerated in the last couple of weeks and Hoth is the latest company to join this bandwagon. Earlier, Moderna, Inc., MRNA dosed the first participant in the phase I study of mRNA vaccine (mRNA-1273) against SARS-CoV-2. A few others like Novavax, Inc. NVAX and Inovio Pharmaceuticals, Inc. INO are developing vaccines to address this disease. Big pharmas like Johnson & Johnson and GlaxoSmithKline are making efforts as well to develop a vaccine.

Hoth currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

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