Dynavax Technologies, a California biopharma focused on novel vaccines, and Taiwan’s Medigen Vaccine Biologics Corporation (MVC) will together develop an adjuvanted vaccine candidate to protect against COVID-19.
The collaboration is evaluating the combination of MVC’s stable prefusion form of the SARS-CoV2 recombinant spike protein with Dynavax’s advanced adjuvant CpG 1018, the adjuvant contained in Dynavax’s US FDA-approved adult hepatitis B vaccine.
“The COVID-19 pandemic is straining healthcare systems across the globe, making a safe, effective and affordable vaccine an important tool in combatting the disease and protecting patients, especially for low and middle-income countries (LMICs),” said Medigen CEO Charles Chen.
“In preclinical testing, the combination of Dynavax’s proven adjuvant with our recombinant spike protein vaccine candidate generated strong virus neutralising antibody responses and cellular immunity.
“These results support advancing evaluation of the combination into Phase 1 human testing, which we expect to begin in September of this year.”
Ryan Spencer, CEO of Dynavax, added: “CpG 1018 is expected to enhance the immune response and may play an important role in developing an effective vaccine, especially for populations traditionally less responsive to vaccination such as older adults who are at greatest risk for severe disease from COVID-19.”
MVC’s subunit vaccine is based on the stable prefusion form of the SARS-CoV2 recombinant spike protein with global technology license from the US Vaccine Research Center at National Institutes of Health (NIH).
Preclinical studies demonstrated that the vaccine candidate adjuvanted with CpG 1018 generated strong immune responses in experimental animals.