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EpiVax and Intravacc to Jointly Develop COVID-19 Vaccine Based on Novel 'Click-On' OMV Technology

By HospiMedica International staff writers
Posted on 04 Jun 2020
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Image: EpiVax and Intravacc to Jointly Develop COVID-19 Vaccine Based on Novel `Click-On` OMV Technology (Photo courtesy of Michael Salerno)
Image: EpiVax and Intravacc to Jointly Develop COVID-19 Vaccine Based on Novel `Click-On` OMV Technology (Photo courtesy of Michael Salerno)
EpiVax, Inc. (Providence, RI, USA) and Intravacc (Bilthoven, Netherlands) have entered into a collaboration agreement to further progress a novel vaccine against COVID-19, based on Intravacc's proprietary Outer Membrane Vesicles (OMV) technology platform.

EpiVax is a biotechnology company with expertise in developing vaccines and therapeutics, while Intravacc is one of the world's leading translational research and development vaccine institutes, with an extensive track record in developing viral and bacterial vaccines. For the development of vaccines against pathogens, Intravacc has designed and developed a platform based on OMVs – spherical particles with intrinsic adjuvating properties. Using genetic engineering, the OMVs can be decorated with immunogenic peptides that combine T- cell epitopes that will drive effective adaptive immunity. Heterologous OMV vaccines are a suitable alternative approach to protect against pathogens that require a high level of containment, that are difficult to cultivate, or that contain viral and/or parasitic proteins. The antigens of choice are attached to the 'empty' OMV carrier resulting in a more effective immune response. Intravacc also has developed genetic tools to increase the yield of OMVs, to reduce toxicity, and to achieve the desired antigenic composition. Intravacc's OMV platform is fully scalable and allows for fast and efficient modification of antigen composition, either via genetic modification of the bacterial host or by associating antigens to stockpiled carrier OMVs.

For their joint research project, Intravacc will combine its safe and immunogenic OMV delivery platform with synthetically produced COVID-19 epitopes (protein allergens), designed and optimized by EpiVax using advanced immunoinformatics tools, in order to generate a safe and highly effective T-cell response against SARS-CoV-2 and related coronaviruses. Pre-clinical studies will start immediately so as to select the best candidate peptides for the vaccine. Intravacc will utilize its in-house pilot-scale facility for the GMP production of the OMV-peptide vaccine, for clinical (phase I) studies expecting to start in Q4 2020.

“We are thrilled to enter into a partnership with Intravacc using their very novel 'click-on' OMV technology and the highly immunogenic and safe SARS-CoV-2 multi-epitope-bearing peptides designed using the iVAX toolkit at EpiVax,” said Annie De Groot, MD, CEO and CSO of EpiVax. “We believe that the combination of technologies and the strength of our longstanding collaboration with Intravacc will lead to the development of an effective and safe vaccine that could rapidly benefit hundreds of millions of people around the globe.”

“A COVID-19 vaccine based on this approach is expected to be very safe and to reduce the morbidity and mortality rates associated with COVID-19,” said Dr. Jan Groen, CEO of Intravacc. “The vaccine is expected to lower the risk that individuals infected with SARS-CoV-2 will require hospitalization and/or intensive care. It also expected to induce long-term memory responses to prevent COVID-19 disease and infection from other beta-corona viruses. We expect that leveraging Intravacc's unique vaccine development expertise, broad-based network and successful track record in global technology transfer to vaccine manufacturers will bring success.”

Related Links:
EpiVax, Inc.
Intravacc



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