Biotech Novavax advances development of COVID-19 Vaccine

US-based Novavax, a clinical-stage vaccine biotech company has announced progress in its efforts to develop a COVID-19 Vaccine. 

The infectious diseases vaccine specialist has produced and is now testing multiple nanoparticle vaccine candidates in animal models in order to find the best candidate for human testing. Phase I Clinical trials are expected to start by the end of spring 2020. 

Novavax has created the COVID-19 vaccine candidates by using its proprietary recombinant protein nanoparticle technology platform to generate antigens derived from the coronavirus spike (S) protein.

COVID-19 vaccine candidate

The company expects to leverage its proprietary Matrix-M™ adjuvant with its COVID-19 vaccine candidate to boost immune responses.

The patented Novavax saponin-based Matrix-M adjuvant has demonstrated a potent and well-tolerated effect by stimulating the entry of antigen-presenting cells into the injection site and enhancing antigen presentation in local lymph nodes, enhancing immune responses.

Stanley C. Erck, President and CEO of Novavax stated:

“Our previous experience working with other coronaviruses, including both MERS and SARS, allowed us to mobilize quickly against COVID-19 and successfully complete the critical preliminary steps to engineer viable vaccine candidates…” 

“Now that the protein has been expressed stably in our baculovirus system, we aim to identify the optimal candidate and scale up production of sufficient vaccine for preliminary clinical trials. We are now well-positioned to advance the COVID-19 vaccine candidate to Phase I clinical testing in May or June.”

The new coronavirus COVID-19 originated in late 2019 in China before starting its quick spread over the globe. More than 82,000 people have been infected with the virus across 40+ countries. COVID-19 can cause extreme pneumonia-like side effects in huge numbers of those contaminated. More than 2800 fatalities have been recorded since the outbreak began.