FDA clears ImmunityBio to trial novel COVID-19 vaccine candidate

ImmunityBio has received FDA authorisation to begin a Phase I clinical trial of hAd5-COVID-19 vaccine candidate that targets both the inner nucleocapsid (N), engineered to activate T cells, and outer spike (S) protein, engineered to activate antibodies against the coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2).

These dual constructs (bivalent sequences) of SARS-CoV-2 offer the potential for the hAd5 vaccine to provide recipients with durable, long-term cell-mediated immunity with potent antibody stimulation against both the S and N proteins.

The company anticipates launching a Phase I trial at Newport Beach, Calif. based Hoag Hospital this month with adult subjects up to age 55.

“While there are a number of vaccine candidates in development, we believe most are limited by their sole focus on antibody responses to the monovalent spike protein, which may be insufficient to activate the full potential of the immune system to fight the coronavirus,” said Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong, Chairman and CEO of ImmunityBio.

“By targeting the nucleocapsid protein on the interior of the virus particle as well as the spike protein on the virus’s surface, we believe this vaccine can stimulate both T-cell-mediated and antibody-mediated immunity to SARS-CoV-2.”

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