Intravacc and EpiVax Team up in Development of COVID-19 Emerging Vaccine

BILTHOVEN, Netherlands and PROVIDENCE, Rhode Island, June 2, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Intravacc, one of the world's leading translational research and development vaccine institutes, with an extensive track record in developing viral and bacterial vaccines, and EpiVax, a biotechnology company based in Providence with expertise in developing vaccines and therapeutics, announce that they have entered into a collaboration agreement to further progress an novel vaccine against COVID-19, based on Intravacc's proprietary Outer Membrane Vesicles (OMV) technology platform.

For this 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.

Annie De Groot, MD, CEO and CSO of EpiVax, said:

"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. 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."

Dr. Jan Groen, CEO of Intravacc, stated:

"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. 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".

About Intravacc's OMV platform technology

For the development of vaccines against pathogens, Intravacc has designed and developed a platform based on outer membrane vesicles (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.

About Intravacc

The Netherlands-based Intravacc is one of the world's leading institutes for translational vaccinology. As an established independent R&D organization with over 100 years' experience in the development and optimization of vaccines and vaccine technologies, Intravacc has transferred its technology all over the globe, including oral polio vaccines, measles vaccines, and DPT, Hib and influenza vaccines. Intravacc offers a wide range of expertise to independently develop vaccines from lead concept to clinical phase I/II studies for partners worldwide such as academia, public health organizations (WHO, BMGF), and biotech and pharmaceutical companies.

Intravacc also has its own proprietary vaccine platform. Intravacc has established state-of-the-art research and production (GMP) facilities. Its aim is to substantially reduce development risks and costs of new vaccines in order to contribute to global health and equity in access to vaccines worldwide.

About EpiVax

EpiVax is a 22-year old privately-held biotechnology company located in Providence, RI, with a broad portfolio of projects including vaccines and immunotherapies for infectious diseases, autoimmunity and cancer. Scientists at EpiVax, led by co-founders Annie De Groot, MD and Bill Martin, have a strong history of developing and applying innovative approaches to improving vaccines and biologics, making the former more immunogenic and the latter less immunogenic using their advanced immunoinformatic tools. The ISPRI and iVAX toolkits for therapeutics and vaccines are used by a global roster of companies. Visit www.epivax.com for more information.

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SOURCE Intravacc