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Jurata Thin Film and CastleVax Awarded $1 Million through the BLUE KNIGHT™ Resident QuickFire Challenge: Accelerating Project NextGen to Develop Thermostabilized COVID-19 Booster Vaccine

Through the BLUE KNIGHT™ Resident QuickFire Challenge: Accelerating Project NextGen, Jurata and CastleVax have received funding to assist with the development of a next-generation booster vaccine against COVID-19 that does not require cold storage, can induce mucosal immunity, and can be administered without needles.

HOUSTON, Sept. 19, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- Jurata Thin Film, Inc., a company aiming to revolutionize vaccine and biologic manufacturing, storage, distribution, and delivery using their proprietary thin film formulation, and CastleVax, Inc., a company commercializing the Newcastle Disease Virus (NDV) vaccine platform developed at The Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, are proud to announce that they have jointly been awarded a $1 million grant through the BLUE KNIGHT™ Resident QuickFire Challenge: Accelerating Project NextGen. These funds will be used to further the development of a thermostabilized next-generation vaccine against SARS-CoV-2 that can be transported and stored without temperature control (refrigeration or freezing), then delivered without needles to induce mucosal immunity.

Jurata and CastleVax have received funding to assist the development of a next-gen booster vaccine against COVID-19.

Project NextGen is a $5 billion initiative launched by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in May 2023 and overseen by the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) that aims to fund the development and testing of next-generation vaccines against SARS-CoV-2 that, among other things, confer mucosal immunity, offer broader and longer-lasting protection against variants, and "enable faster, cheaper, rapid, and more flexible production of vaccines and therapeutics". Using Jurata's thin film platform to stabilize CastleVax's live-attenuated, next-generation NDV-vectored COVID-19 booster vaccine is expected to result in a shelf-stable, needle-free vaccine capable of inducing mucosal immunity and protecting against breakthrough infection and transmission of the virus.

Launched from Mount Sinai, CastleVax is a clinical-stage biotechnology company whose two lead candidates, an inactivated NDV and a live-attenuated NDV, both against SARS-CoV-2, have already generated clinical results both domestically and abroad. Their live-attenuated, next-generation COVID-19 booster vaccine will be used for the awarded studies, as it has been shown to elicit mucosal immunity in a Phase 1 clinical study in the United States. While CastleVax's vaccine has shown compelling results in the clinic, it currently requires ultra-cold storage and administration via an intranasal spray device, making it logistically challenging to distribute and administer in low-resource regions, including low- and middle-income countries (LMICs).

Jurata specializes in stabilizing temperature-sensitive vaccines and biologics, completely removing the need for refrigeration and freezing from manufacturing of the finished product all the way through administration of the therapeutic to patients. Additionally, Jurata has evidence to suggest that their thin film technology could also change the route of administration of vaccines from intramuscular or intranasal to sublingual (under the tongue) or buccal (inside the cheek).

The awarded project aims to optimize Jurata's formulation to stabilize CastleVax's live-attenuated, next-generation COVID-19 booster vaccine and show in preclinical studies that the resulting thermostable vaccine elicits equivalent protection against SARS-CoV-2, compared to CastleVax's original vaccine formulation.

"We are so excited about our partnership with Jurata Thin Film," says CastleVax's Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Michael Egan. He continued, "their thin film technology could make our live-attenuated, next-generation COVID-19 booster vaccine far more accessible to patients, no matter where they are in the world." Jurata's Chief Scientific Officer, Dr. Irnela Bajrovic, added, "the combination of our company's technologies offers many advantages compared to current COVID-19 vaccines. We are honored to receive this award to pursue this work."

About Jurata Thin Film, Inc. 

Founded in 2019, Jurata Thin Film, Inc. is a privately-held biotechnology company working to revolutionize the way vaccines and biologics are manufactured, stored, distributed, and delivered to all who need them around the world. Jurata's thin films have the potential to store therapeutics at room temperature for up to three years prior to reconstitution, and for up to eight months after reconstitution while maintaining therapeutic payload potency. Their technology has also been proven to protect its cargo even when exposed to extreme temperatures, as is often the case during shipment and distribution. For more information on Jurata and their thin film technology, visit

About CastleVax, Inc.

In August 2022, the Mount Sinai Health System launched CastleVax, Inc., a clinical-stage vaccine research and development company devoted to the commercial development of the NDV vaccine platform technology. The NDV-based vaccine technology was initially developed at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in the laboratories of Drs. Palese, García-Sastre, Krammer, and Sun.

For more information on CastleVax and the NDV vaccine platform, visit

Media Contact: Megan Livingston, 

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SOURCE Jurata Thin Film

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