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First patients dosed with COVID-19 vaccine from SpyBiotech and Serum Institute of India

Candidate uses similar technology from a licensed Hepatitis B vaccine

The first patients have been dosed with a novel virus-like particle vaccine targeting COVID-19 in a trial co-led by UK-based SpyBiotech and the Serum Institute of India.

The phase 1/2, which has been initiated in Australia, will test the vaccine candidate in several hundred participants following the completion of enrolment.

The vaccine candidate was developed using SpyBiotech’s SpyCatcher/SpyTag protein “superglue” technology and a virus-like particle (VLP) from the Hepatitis B antigen as a carrier. The coronavirus spike protein is display on the VLP, which allows the properties of the  “superglue” technology to induce an immune response in participants.

VLPs are already licensed for use in vaccines against Hepatitis B, and have encouraging safety and immunogenicity data in this indication.

“We are delighted to have dosed the first subjects in this trial with Serum Institute of India, the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer by number of doses produced, and to be advancing this COVID-19 vaccine candidate into clinical trials,” said Sumi Biswas, chief executive officer and co-founder of SpyBiotech.

“Combining SpyBiotech’s unique platform technology with Serum’s extensive expertise developing VLPs and its manufacturing capability is an exciting development at a critical time, giving us the tools to produce the large volume of doses required to support the global fight against COVID-19,” she added.

SpyBiotech has signed an exclusive licensing agreement with the Serum Institute for the vaccine, although financial details of the deal are not being disclosed.

We are very excited about the collaboration with SpyBiotech to work on this novel vaccine for COVID-19. This new technology has the potential to be a powerful new approach to tackling the pandemic. SIIPL is looking forward to working alongside SpyBiotech to advance this candidate through clinical development,” said Adar Poonawalla, chief executive officer of the Serum Institute.

The Oxford-based biotech company was co-founded by Mark Howarth and his team at Oxford University’s Department of Biochemistry and spun out with the help of Jenner Institute vaccinologists Biswas, Simon Draper and Jing Jin in 2017.

This year, the company raised £10m in funding from Oxford Sciences Innovation, the capital investor for Oxford University, and the UK government’s Future Fund.

Article by
Lucy Parsons

8th September 2020

From: Research

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