Oxford University biotech spinoff strikes Covid-19 vaccine India deal
A Global Indian professor's Oxford-based company revealed 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 has signed an exclusive global licensing agreement with SIIPL for the development of the vaccine as part of the study initiated in Australia.
Biswas, a Kolkata-born immunologist, said: “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.
“For SpyBiotech, this is an opportunity to provide an accelerated proof point for our platform technology, alongside the other candidates which we are advancing into clinical development. Our technology can be combined with multiple vaccine delivery platforms to create a plug and display vaccine which is critical for generating vaccines rapidly and safely.”
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.
SpyBiotech says its?vaccine candidate uses its “proprietary” SpyCatcher/SpyTag protein “superglue” technology to display the coronavirus spike protein on the surface of Hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) VLPs, a licensed vaccine with "excellent safety and immunogenicity data" in humans and which are currently manufactured to billions of doses. The coronavirus spike protein's receptor-binding domain is displayed on the VLP, taking advantage of the platform's properties to induce a potent immune response.
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.”
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.