An Indian-origin professor’s Oxford-based company announced that its Indian partner, the Serum Institute of India (SIIPL), has begun trials of a novel virus-like particle (VLP) vaccine targeting Covid-19 which has the potential to offer a groundbreaking new approach to fighting the pandemic.
Prof Sumi Biswas, Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of SpyBiotech, an Oxford University spinoff company with a novel vaccine platform to target infectious diseases, cancer and chronic diseases, said the first subjects have been dosed in a Phase I/II trial.
SpyBiotech said it had signed an exclusive global licensing agreement with SIIPL for the development of the vaccine as part of the study initiated in Australia.
“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,” said Biswas, a Kolkata-born immunologist.
Biswas moved to the UK in 2005 having studied microbiology at the University of Bangalore and went on to become an Associate Professor of Vaccinology at the Jenner Institute, Oxford University's leading vaccines innovation centre which is currently also working on another COVID-19 vaccine candidate.
Adar Poonawalla, Chief Executive Officer of SIIPL, said, “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,” he added.
SpyCatcher/SpyTag is a platform technology which allows antigens to be displayed onto VLPs with a covalent, irreversible bond in a highly stable and effective way with specific orientation/epitope presentation and high density.
The technology can be used for an exceptionally broad range of applications in vaccine development and has established proof of concept data in a viral, bacterial, parasitic diseases and chronic diseases and cancer.
SpyBiotech said it had exclusive rights from the University of Oxford to apply, commercialise and sub-license the “plug and display” technology for vaccine development.
“Finding a safe and effective vaccine against the SARS-CoV-2 (Covid-19) virus is one of the most pressing scientific challenges of our time,” said Lachlan Mackinnon, Oxford Sciences Innovation Principal and SpyBiotech Chairman.