Ufovax has recently announced the successful extension of its patented 1c-SA p NP (one component self-assembling protein nanoparticle) vaccine platform technology to a vaccine against the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The privately held biotech company holds an exclusive right to commercialize and develop Scripps Research nanoparticle vaccine technology to meet certain vaccine targets.
The prototype of the new vaccine features protein spikes of SARS-CoV-2 protruding from the protein nanoparticle scaffolds. As a VLP (virus-like particle), this nanoparticle vaccine could prompt the immune system towards rapid generation of antibodies and potentially deactivate the virus, thereby offering the capability to protect against the actual SARS-CoV-2 virus.
The new vaccine platform was introduced by Dr. Jiang Zhu, Scripps Research’s Associate Professor in the Integrative Structural & Computational Biology Department. The platform has offered promising vaccine candidates to fight off viral infections such as RSV, Ebola, HCV, and HIV. Dr. Zhu has co-led 2 NIH-funded projects that are aimed at the vaccine development for SARS-CoV/MERS-CoV in the past 2 years. After the coronavirus outbreak, he and his team have adopted the nanoparticle platform to develop a SARS-CoV-2 vaccine in less than sixty days.
Dr. Zhu has stated that the team is looking forward to beginning the initial tests in animal models to check the efficiency of the vaccine against SARS-CoV-2, in order to further move to the clinical trials. The VLPs are made from identical proteins, which are synthesized by inserting a single plasmid encoded with the relevant gene in CHO or C1 (DYAI) host cell. It is then followed by 1-step expression & 2 subsequent purifications. This process viability has been validated for vaccine production on a large scale, by the external industrial partners.
Ufovax’s CEO & President, Dr. Ji Li, has stated that the company is focusing on advancing clinical translation of the nanoparticle vaccines to treat infectious diseases worldwide, including the deadly COVID-19.