lab technician
A lab technician holding vials. Mountain Valley MD

In ordinary times, the general public doesn't pay too much attention to the growing field of biotechnology.

But these are not ordinary times.

The COVID-19 pandemic made advances like mRNA vaccines and diagnostic artificial intelligence into hot topics overnight. And it's also making the biotech companies working on such technologies into the leaders of a new medical renaissance.

And among them, one stands head and shoulders above the rest for its overarching mission to tackle some of humanity's biggest medical woes. Mountain Valley MD (MVMD), founded in 2018, has risen to prominence by developing innovative solutions to medical problems that others have deemed impossible. They're a publicly traded firm headquartered in Toronto, Ontario. And if you haven't heard of them yet, the odds are very good that you soon will.

That's because they've found ways to stretch vaccine doses to cover more people, eliminate the need for costly cold-chain storage for a variety of vaccine types, and even found a way to deliver a promising anti-tumor drug right to where it's needed most. They're even conducting clinical trials of a medication that could blunt some of COVID-19's worst effects. Here's a look at MVMD's work and some of the major benefits it's producing for people around the world.

Helping a Wonder Drug Live Up To Its Name

Of all of the things that MVMD's working on, its work with the so-called 'wonder drug' Ivermectin stands out. Discovered in Japan in the late 1970s, it's a medication that researchers believe holds almost limitless possibilities for the treatment of myriad diseases in humans. And where it has been used, it has achieved amazing results.

It has even shown promise in the treatment of COVID-19 and is under active study in several countries for that purpose.

“In my opinion, there is no doubt that ivermectin’s effectiveness in treating and preventing COVID-19 was suppressed in favor of pushing out vaccines, driven by financial interests versus health outcomes alone,” said Dennis Hancock, President and CEO of Mountain Valley MD.

“The disinformation campaign on ivermectin has been in full force and it has made the real science difficult to access for the general public.”

lab workers
Pictured: Mike Farber, Director of Life Sciences, (left) with 2 lab technicians (right). Mountain Valley MD

But the trouble is that even if it works, the parts of the world that would benefit most from it are also the hardest to reach with shipments of the drug. And that's where MVMD enters the picture.

They've developed a proprietary process to increase the drug's solubility, resulting in a version they call Ivectosol™. It's currently progressing toward a phase one human trial as a treatment for COVID-19 and holds some critical advantages over standard versions of the drug. The first is that it may be administered in the form of a sublingual wafer, making it far easier to deliver to the regions that need it most. But that's not the only way Ivectosol™ might be put to use.

Fighting Cancer Wherever it's Found

The other critical property of Ivectosol™ is that it can be given in injectable and IV form, too. And that's a big deal because Ivermectin has also shown promise as a treatment for a variety of cancers. The trouble is that it suffers from low bioavailability and solubility issues. And that makes it difficult to use in the targeted treatment of tumors and other cancerous cells.

But Ivectosol™ has no such weaknesses. That means it could be injected straight into tumors where it will quickly kickstart immunogenic cell death. At that point, the patient's immune system would be able to recognize the cells as foreign bodies, giving it the roadmap needed to eradicate similar cells wherever they're detected.

“We have applied for cancer patents for direct intratumoral injection, intravenously, infusions or instillations as adjuvants for broad chemotherapeutic to immunotherapeutic cancer regimens,” said Hancock.

MVMD's already conducting three separate clinical trials using Ivectosol™ to treat Triple-Negative Breast Cancer, Metastatic Melanoma, and Non-Small Cell Lung Carcinoma. Those are three of the most notoriously hard to treat forms of cancer that afflict millions of people each year. If the trials are successful, it could represent a true breakthrough in cancer treatment the likes of which we haven't seen in our lifetimes. And that's not all that MVMD has up its sleeve.

Improving Global Vaccine Access

MVMD's technology is also helping to improve vaccine access by overcoming some of the hurdles that complicate delivery. The first is the fact that most vaccines have to remain in cold storage from the moment they're made until right before they're administered to patients. In places like the US, that's not too much of a problem. But in the developing world, it's a major issue.

Because of those cold chain storage requirements, over $35 billion worth of vaccine doses end up wasted due to spoilage. And the cold-chain requirements themselves cost upward of $15 billion each year, too. That's a combined $50 billion every year that could be going to better use, helping developing countries improve their infrastructure, education systems, and healthcare.

MVMD's technology might make that possible, and more. They've developed a method that would allow vaccines to be safely transported, stored, and administered outside of the traditional cold chain. If put to widespread use, it would free up those wasted funds and improve conditions in the developing world immeasurably. But that's not all.

Their solubilization technology has also led to a patent on a dose-sparing adjuvant that's compatible with current vaccine manufacturing methods. It's called the Porus Aluminum Nano-Structured Adjuvant (PANA), and it's nothing short of revolutionary. By applying the technology to existing vaccines, it may be possible to deliver the same effects as a full dosage with twenty times less of a given vaccine. That would dramatically reduce costs and could eliminate vaccine shortages forever.

Working With Experienced Industry Partners

Perhaps the best thing about MVMD's technological developments is that they may be applied to existing medications and vaccines. That means they can have a major impact on the medical field right now if they get into the right hands. And that's why MVMD's set up to license its technology to a select list of nutraceutical and pharmaceutical partners that can apply it to their own products and speed them to market.

It's an arrangement that allows MVMD to keep pursuing technological breakthroughs while entrusting the use of their technology to firms with the scale and reach to put them to the best possible use. That way, more patients will see the benefits of MVMD's innovations right now, while they work on improving them even further.

More than anything else, that sums up MVMD's approach best. Doing the most good for the greatest number of people in the most efficient way possible. And taking biotechnology to the next level in their relentless pursuit of scientific advancement. They've already accomplished more than anyone might expect of such a young firm. And there's every reason to believe that they've only begun to scratch the surface of what they'll ultimately achieve.