Gritstone licenses Genevant tech to develop COVID-19 vaccine

Gritstone Oncology has obtained a nonexclusive license to Genevant Sciences’ LNP technology to develop and commercialise self-amplifying RNA (SAM) vaccines against SARS-CoV-2.

Genevant’s LNP platform is clinically validated and part of Gritstone’s SAM neoantigen-based cancer immunotherapy now in Phase 2 testing.

Andrew Allen, co-founder, President and CEO of California-based biotech, Gritstone, said: “As we continue to see new strains of SARS-CoV-2 emerge, we identified an opportunity to apply our key strengths to an innovative COVID-19 vaccine.

“Specifically, extending the antigenic content of a COVID-19 vaccine beyond Spike alone may open up a route to clinical protection even if Spike mutations reduce antibody binding.

“We believe our approach could make an important impact on COVID-19 by eliciting robust neutralising antibody responses and plentiful anti-viral CD8+ T cells to both Spike and other key viral antigens.”

Genevant is eligible to receive from Gritstone up to $192 million in upfront and contingent milestone payments per product, plus royalties ranging from the mid-single to the mid-double digits on future product sales. I

n the event that Gritstone outlicenses the COVID-19 program, Genevant may in certain circumstances be entitled to a percentage of amounts that Gritstone receives.

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