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Covid-19 Research Spy Biotech, Serum Institute Conduct Trial of Virus-Like Particle Vaccine

Editor: Ahlam Rais

Spy Biotech along with its partner the Serum Institute of India have dosed the first subjects in a Phase I/II trial of a novel virus-like particle vaccine targeting Covid-19. The vaccine candidate makes use of Spy Biotech’s proprietary Spy Catcher/Spy Tag protein ‘superglue’ technology.

The Phase I/II study has been initiated in Australia.
The Phase I/II study has been initiated in Australia.
(Source: Deposit Photos)

Oxford/United Kingdom – Spy Biotech, a company with a novel vaccine platform to target infectious diseases, cancer and chronic diseases, has recently announced that its partner the Serum Institute of India (SIIPL) has dosed the first subjects in a Phase I/II trial of a novel virus-like particle (VLP) vaccine targeting Covid-19.

Spy Biotech has signed an exclusive global licensing agreement with SIIPL for the development of a novel virus-like-particle (VLP) vaccine targeting Covid-19. Financial terms of the agreement are not being disclosed. The Phase I/II study has been initiated in Australia.

The vaccine candidate uses Spy Biotech’s proprietary Spy Catcher/Spy Tag protein ‘superglue’ technology to display the coronavirus spike protein on the surface of Hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) VLPs.

HBsAg VLPs are 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.

Spy Catcher/Spy Tag 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 viral, bacterial, parasitic diseases and chronic diseases and cancer.

Spy Biotech has exclusive rights from the University of Oxford to apply, commercialise and sub-license the ‘plug and display’ technology for vaccine development.

Professor Sumi Biswas, Chief Executive Officer and co-Founder of Spy Biotech, commented: “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.

“Combining Spy Biotech’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 Spy Biotech, 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.”

Adar Poonawalla, Chief Executive Officer of SIIPL, added: “We are very excited about the collaboration with Spy Biotech 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 Spy Biotech to advance this candidate through clinical development.”

Lachlan Mackinnon, Oxford Sciences Innovation Principal and Spy Biotech Chairman, added: “Finding a safe and effective vaccine against the Sars-Cov-2 virus is one of the most pressing scientific challenges of our time.

“Combining the benefits of Spy Biotech’s protein ‘superglue’ technology with the known safety and immunogenicity of the Serum Institute’s Hepatitis B surface antigen virus-like particle offers the potential for an effective, safe Covid-19 vaccine which could be manufactured at scale. Spy Biotech’s technology, through this agreement, can be added to a growing armory of weapons being developed against this disease, which we’re delighted to be able to support. We hope the development programme will also help validate the broader potential of the technology, which in the future will be used to target other infectious diseases and cancer.”

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