Avalon GloboCare, a New Jersey-based clinical-stage global developer of cell-based technologies and therapeutics, has partnered with the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences (BOKU) in Vienna, Austria to develop an S-layer vaccine that can be administered by an intranasal or oral route against COVID-19.
The principal investigator of the co-development project is BOKU’s Professor Uwe B. Sleytr, an eminent member of the Austrian Academy of Sciences.
Dr. Eva-Kathrin Ehmoser, Professor and Head of the Institute for Synthetic Bioarchitectures at BOKU, serves as the co-principal investigator of the COVID-19 vaccine program.
Given the continued rise of COVID-19 cases around the world, Avalon and the BOKU scientists are working closely to co-develop a novel SARS-CoV-2 vaccine that would induce a sufficient immune response to prevent a severe form of COVID-19, which causes morbidity and often mortality.
This vaccine strategy has the dual advantages of ease of manufacturing and delivery. The candidate vaccine is derived from a fusion of an S-layer viral particle mimic with the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein and could be delivered non-invasively via the nasal or oral passageways, rather than a needle-based injection into the muscle or under the skin.
The S-layer protein-based vaccine is expected to both decrease the severity of a SARS-CoV-2 infection—preventing the more severe respiratory inflammation and organ damage seen in many COVID-19 patients—and build immunity against the virus.
This strategic partnership with BOKU leverages Avalon’s expertise and resources in bio-manufacturing infrastructure and clinical study implementation with the scientific capabilities and deep experience of the laboratories of Professors Sleytr and Ehmoser at BOKU.
Professors Sleytr and Ehmoser have already made substantial progress by developing the proprietary techniques necessary to synthesize conjugate vaccines consisting of an S-layer artificial viral envelope linked to a viral antigen.
As a proof of concept, the investigators have also shown that these types of protein conjugate vaccine candidates are able to elicit immune-protective antibody responses.
Avalon and Professor Sleytr have jointly filed a provisional patent application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) pertaining to the nanoparticle S-layer based vaccine against SARS-CoV-2.
The research is part of an ongoing and broader collaboration between Avalon and BOKU that will utilize S-layer technology to accelerate additional vaccine programs for other respiratory infections including different strains of the flu (influenza A/B), respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), and other viruses.
As part of the partnership, Avalon is also actively exploring other practical uses of S-layer technology including targeted drug delivery, diagnostic devices, and therapeutic applications.