On April 23, 2020, ReiThera, a biotech company located in Italy; Leukocare, a German biotech company; and Univercells, a Belgium-based bioprocessing provider, announced that they are entering into a strategic collaboration for the development and manufacturing of a novel adenoviral vector-based vaccine against COVID-19.
According to a Univercells press release, the vaccine will be based on a ReiThera-proprietary simian adenoviral vector with strong immunological potency and low pre-existing immunity in humans. Clinical trials for the vaccine are set to begin during the summer of 2020 with large-scale vaccine production planned to start soon after.
The companies will also start stockpiling the vaccine while it’s in clinical development, the press release said. Six million doses of the vaccine are expected to be available in 2021.
“We are very eager to answer the calls from our industry and society to join the global effort against this rapidly spreading virus,” said Stefano Colloca, chief technology officer of ReiThera, in the press release. “Our expertise and positive preclinical and clinical data on adenovirus-based vaccines, allows us to react to this unprecedented situation in a prompt and timely framework. We look forward to working with our partners, whose complementary expertise and capabilities will help this new consortium respond as quickly as possible to this global health emergency.”
“By combining the experience of the partners, the advanced stages of this vaccine development will allow for a swift response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Leukocare team is perfectly prepared to contribute to this eminently important co-development,” said Michael Scholl, CEO of Leukocare, in the press release. “Facing the current challenges, our approach for the fast and low-risk development of drug products with superior stability characteristics is even more important regarding timelines and social impact.”
“The world is facing a crisis never seen before and we are committed to doing our part to make a COVID-19 vaccine available and affordable as quickly as possible,” added José Castillo, chief technology officer of Univercells, in the press release. “We will adapt our bioproduction platform to the specific needs in record time and will ramp up manufacturing capacities at Univercells and third parties to answer this urgent need.”