ExpreS2ion announces EU grant award for the COVID-19 vaccine development programme
Hørsholm, Denmark, March 6, 2020 – Today, ExpreS2ion Biotechnologies ApS (“ExpreS2ion”), a fully owned subsidiary of ExpreS2ion Biotech Holding AB, announces that the consortium has been awarded an EU Horizon 2020 grant for the COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2) Coronavirus vaccine development programme. The award funding amounts to 2,7 MEUR (28MSEK), of which ExpreS2ion directly is funded with 0.88 MEUR (9.3 MSEK).
The aim of the grant is to support the consortium in development of a COVID-19 vaccine candidate, including performing a Phase I/IIa clinical trial. The ambitious aim is to initiate clinical investigations within 12 months.
The EU Horizon 2020 consortium members are world-leading experts in their respective fields, covering all relevant areas of viral research and vaccine development required for rapid clinical development of a COVID-19 vaccine. This includes pre-clinical and clinically validated experience from working with similar Coronaviruses such as MERS and SARS, ExpreS2ion’s Drosophila S2 insect cell expression system, and AdaptVac’s capsid virus-like particle (cVLP) technology.
ExpreS2ion’s CEO Bent Frandsen comments:
“ExpreS2ion has since its announcement on February 6th, 2020 of initiating a vaccine development programme against COVID-19 worked diligently to progress on its project, including setting up consortia of viral research and clinical vaccine experts, which together with our ExpreS2 protein production platform and our joint venture AdaptVac’s cVLP technology as core enabling technologies increase the likelihood of a unique vaccine with stronger and long lasting immune response. We are very proud of being part of this EU’s Horizon 2020 award, that supports our ambitious timeline of initiating clinical investigations within 12 months.”
In addition to ExpreS2ion, the consortium members for the EU Horizon 2020 grant application was AdaptVac, Institute for Tropical Medicine (ITM) at University of Tübingen, Leiden University Medical Center, University of Copenhagen and Wageningen University.
AdaptVac is a joint venture between ExpreS2ion Biotechnologies and NextGen Vaccines, owned by the inventors of the novel proprietary and ground-breaking capsid-like virus particle (cVLP) platform technology spun out from the University of Copenhagen. The Company aims to accelerate the development of highly efficient therapeutic and prophylactic vaccines within high value segments of oncology, infectious diseases and immunological disorders. Granting of the core patent in the U.S. has expanded AdaptVac’s patent protection to include our entire pipeline of vaccines and immunotherapies in development. Please visit: www.AdaptVac.com
About Leiden University Medical Center (LUMC)
The virology lab at LUMC (www.lumc.nl) has been working on SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV since these emerged in the human population, and they do a combination of basic and more translational research on these viruses. They focus on thoroughly understanding these viruses and their interactions with host cells, and use this knowledge to develop innovative antiviral strategies, including vaccines and antivirals. Analyses of infections in both cell culture as well as mouse models are possible in their BSL-3 facilities, including testing the efficacy of vaccines and antivirals. This expertise and experience will be instrumental for the consortium.
About Institute for Tropical Medicine (ITM) at University of Tübingen
The Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen (EKUT) is one of Europe’s oldest universities, with key strengths in the Sciences and the Life Sciences. Within the Faculty of Medicine, the Institut für Tropenmedizin, Reisemedizin und Humanparsitologie (ITM) is an established Centre of Excellence. The institute is also part of the Comprehensive Infectious Disease Center at the University Hospital Tübingen and a site of the German Center for Infection Research (DZIF).
ITM-EKUT is a leading institution performing clinical trials in infectious diseases, especially antimalarial, interventions and vaccines both at its dedicated Clinical Trials Platform (CTP) and in collaboration with partner sites in tropical countries. This platform has been developed to conduct Phase I-IV clinical trials according to ICH-GCP standards, and a number of successful trials have been completed since its foundation. Qualified study physicians, clinical investigators, project managers, study nurses, pharmacists, technicians, and other study staff are experienced members of the CTP team. In addition, the institute has acted as sponsor for several trials for Ebola vaccine (rVSV-ZEBOV), malaria treatment (parenteral artesunate) and vaccine (VAR2CSA/PAMVAC). Large international projects and multicentre clinical studies are coordinated within the field of poverty related and neglected tropical diseases. In addition to strongly patient-oriented research on chemotherapy and vaccination studies, model systems are also used. Models for malaria, filariasis, schistosomiasis and echinococcosis are uniquely established in Germany.
About University of Copenhagen
The University of Copenhagen was founded in 1479 by the Danish king Christian 1, and today has approx. 38,000 students and 9,000 employees – of whom some 5,000 are researchers – and revenues of DKK 8.9 billion. Nine Nobel Prizes have been awarded to researchers at the University. The Department of Immunology and Microbiology (ISIM) is part of the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences at the University of Copenhagen and is physically located in the Panum Building and at the Maersk Tower.
About Wageningen University
The mission of Wageningen University is to explore the potential of nature to improve the quality of life. The Laboratory of Virology studies arboviruses, insect viruses and plant viruses, with special interest in virus-host and virus-vector interactions. The group has a strong international profile in fundamental virology and biotechnological applications to produce recombinant biologicals including vaccines and gene therapy vectors. The baculovirus-insect cell expression system is their preferred platform to produce complex (glyco)proteins, including a highly effective experimental chikungunya vaccine based on virus-like particles. The Laboratory of Virology will now use its expertise to produce immunogenic SARS-CoV2 glycoproteins.
About the COVID-19 Coronavirus outbreak
A novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak was reported in Wuhan, China in late December 2019. The COVID-19 Coronavirus is a part of the same family as SARS and MERS, and there have been more than 95 000 confirmed cases and over 3 000 deaths reported as of March 5th, 2020. The latest situation updates are available on the WHO web page: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019 ..
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For further information about ExpreS2ion Biotech Holding AB, please contact:
Bent U. Frandsen, CEO
Telephone: +45 4256 6869
This press release contains information that ExpreS2ion is obligated to make public pursuant to the EU Market Abuse Regulation. The information was submitted for publication through the agency of the contact person set out above on March 6, 2020.
ExpreS2ion Biotechnologies ApS is a fully owned Danish subsidiary of ExpreS2ion Biotech Holding AB with company register number 559033-3729. ExpreS2ion has developed a unique technology platform, ExpreS2, for fast and efficient non-clinical development and production of complex proteins for new vaccines and diagnostics. ExpreS2 is regulatorily validated for clinical supply. The platform includes functionally modified glycosylation variants for enhanced immunogenicity and pharmacokinetics. Since 2010, the Company has produced more than 300 proteins and 40 virus-like particles (VLPs) in collaboration with leading research institutions and companies. Since 2017, ExpreS2ion develops novel VLP based vaccines through its joint venture AdaptVac ApS. For additional information, please visit www.expres2ionbio.com and www.adaptvac.com.