Race to Develop Universal ‘Variant-Proof’ Covid Vaccine Involves Several Players

FN Media Group Presents USA News Group News Commentary.

Source: news release

March 24, 2022

Whenever a new COVID-19 variant emergences, health authorities have had limited options to fight back with other than more restrictions or boosters of authorized shots such as those from Pfizer (NYSE: PFE) and BioNTech (NASDAQ: BNTX) or Moderna (NASDAQ: MRNA). However, these current jabs target the initial strain of the virus. Both Pfizer and Moderna are working on Omicron-specific injections, whereas there’s also been a push for a universal variant-proof COVID vaccine. Last December, it was announced that the US Army was developing a single vaccine against all COVID and SARS variants. Multiple biotech players have been working on a more flexible option including BioVaxys Technology Corp. (CSE: BIOV) (OTCQB: BVAXF), and Sorrento Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ: SRNE).

In collaboration with The Ohio State University, clinical stage biotech company BioVaxys Technology Corp. (CSE:BIOV) (OTCQB:BVAXF) recently announced bioproduction of its newly developed vaccine BVX-1021 for the strain of coronavirus that causes Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (“SARS1”), the respiratory illness responsible for the deadly 2002–2004 pandemic. There are no vaccines approved for SARS1.

BVX-1021 is a hapten-modified recombinant S-protein from SARS-CoV-1, whereas BVX-0320, BioVaxys’ Covid-19 vaccine, is a hapten-modified recombinant S-spike protein from SARS-CoV-2, the virus which causes Covid-19.

BVX-0320 comprises a portion of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein that’s modified by the hapten, dinitrophenyl (DNP); hapten modification prevents ACE2 binding while retaining immunogenicity.

The ongoing research collaboration is part of BioVaxys’ novel approach for a universal vaccine that can treat a broad range of sarbecoviruses—aka a pan-sarbecovirus vaccine.

“Scientists have observed that people who survived the 2002-03 SARS pandemic and then were administered a Covid-19 vaccine developed antibodies that cross-reacted with all of the sarbecoviruses that they tested,” said Dr. David Berd, Chief Medical Officer of Biovaxys. “That observation suggested to us that a similar pan-sarbecovirus immune response could be generated by immunizing with haptenized spike protein from SARS1 and SARS-Cov-2, i.e., our BVX-0320 and BVX-1021 products.”

A hapten is a small molecule that stimulates an immune response when conjugated with a protein such as a virus surface antigen, but lacks antigenicity of its own. Previous studies conducted by BioVaxys in mice showed how haptenized SARS-CoV-2 spike protein elicits both, robust T cell and antibody response.

It’s a platform based on the concept of haptenization, built upon the work of immunologist and Nobel laureate Dr. Karl Landsteiner. Today, BioVaxys uses this process which “teaches” a patient’s immune system to recognize and make target proteins more ‘visible’ as foreign, to stimulate a more intense immune response.

“The Covid-19 market is shifting to vaccines that will not only protect against emerging variants of SARS-CoV-2, but also for any related coronaviruses that likely may arise in the future,” said Kenneth Kovan, President & COO of BioVaxys. “BVX-1021 demonstrates that we can leverage our technology platform to create novel hapten-viral antigen vaccines to target additional markets.”

BioVaxys intends to develop BVX-1021 as a standalone “booster” targeting anyone who has been immunized with a World Health Organization-recognized Covid-19 vaccine or convalesced from a Covid-19 infection.

To date, more than 410 million people worldwide have recovered from Covid-19, and 65.7% of the global population have received at least one dose of SARS-CoV-2 vaccine, or more than 5.04 billion people.

Another clinical and commercial stage biotech company working on a universal vaccines is Sorrento Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ:SRNE), who recently reported promising results with a universal chimeric mRNA COVID-19 vaccine that elicits potent neutralizing antibodies and protection against not only omicron, but delta variants as well.

“The concept of a universal mRNA vaccine is still very appealing for at least two reasons,” said Dr. Henry Ji, Chairman and CEO of Sorrento. “One is that the virus could continue accumulating more mutations to eventually nullify the effectiveness of marketed mRNA vaccines. Secondly, a universal mRNA vaccine against COVID-19 is much needed worldwide, especially in developing countries.”

During the past two years, Sorrento scientists explored various strategies to develop mRNA vaccines that can potentially provide broad and effective protection against predominant SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern (VOCs) as well as potential future variants.

Their newly designed mRNA vaccine incorporates a mutation in the furin cleavage site that prevents the S1 subunit cleavage from the spike protein anchored on the muscle cell membrane. This modification is introduced to prevent the leakage of S1 subunit from the expressed spike protein into the blood circulation, which is known in part to potentially cause undesirable side effects in vital organ tissues following administration of the current EUA-approved mRNA vaccines.

Back in January 2022Pfizer Inc. (NYSE:PFE) and BioNTech SE (NASDAQ:BNTXinitiated a study to evaluate an Omicron-based COVID-19 vaccine in adults 18 to 55 years of age. The study draws upon some participants from the companies’ Phase 3 COVID-19 booster study and is part of their ongoing efforts to address Omicron and determine the potential need for variant-based vaccines.

“Emerging data indicates vaccine-induced protection against infection and mild to moderate disease wanes more rapidly than was observed with prior strains,” said Prof. Ugur Sahin, CEO and Co-founder of BioNTech. “This study is part of our science-based approach to develop a variant-based vaccine that achieves a similar level of protection against Omicron as it did with earlier variants but with longer duration of protection.”

Recently, Pfizer applied for authorization from U.S. regulators for a fourth dose for older Americans.

Just two days later, Moderna (NASDAQ:MRNAasked for U.S. authorization of a fourth dose for all adults.

Moderna also recently released interim data on the effectiveness of its vaccine for children under 6 years old, showing their shots were approximately 44% effective at preventing infection in 6 months to under 2, and about 38% effective for children 2-5 years old. The company has also asked the FDA to authorize its vaccine for children 6-11 years old.

The highly mutated omicron variant has significantly reduced vaccine effectiveness from its high-water mark of around 94% when the shots were first authorized for adults in December 2020, causing many more breakthrough infections. Now both Moderna and Pfizer are leaning towards needing Omicron-specific vaccines.

In December, a Danish study found that two doses of Moderna’s vaccine were 36.7% effective against Omicron, compared with 55.2% for Pfizer. Over the next five months, those numbers quickly plummeted, while a third Pfizer dose administered 14 to 44 days after the second shot only restored protection to 56.4% in people aged 60 or older.

Article Source: https://biotech-insider.com/the-small-biotech-company-that-all-the-majors-aspire-to-be/

DISCLAIMER: Nothing in this publication should be considered as personalized financial advice. We are not licensed under securities laws to address your particular financial situation. No communication by our employees to you should be deemed as personalized financial advice. Please consult a licensed financial advisor before making any investment decision. This is a paid advertisement and is neither an offer nor recommendation to buy or sell any security. We hold no investment licenses and are thus neither licensed nor qualified to provide investment advice. The content in this report or email is not provided to any individual with a view toward their individual circumstances. USA News Group and Biotech Insider is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Market IQ Media Group, Inc. (“MIQ”). MIQ has been paid a fee for BioVaxys Technology Corp. advertising and digital media from the company directly. There may be 3rd parties who may have shares of BioVaxys Technology Corp., and may liquidate their shares which could have a negative effect on the price of the stock. This compensation constitutes a conflict of interest as to our ability to remain objective in our communication regarding the profiled company. Because of this conflict, individuals are strongly encouraged to not use this publication as the basis for any investment decision. The owner/operator of MIQ own shares of BioVaxys Technology Corp. which were purchased as a part of a private placement. MIQ reserves the right to buy and sell, and will buy and sell shares of BioVaxys Technology Corp. at any time thereafter without any further notice. We also expect further compensation as an ongoing digital media effort to increase visibility for the company, no further notice will be given, but let this disclaimer serve as notice that all material disseminated by MIQ has been approved by the above mentioned company; this is a paid advertisement, and we own shares of the mentioned company that we will sell, and we also reserve the right to buy shares of the company in the open market, or through further private placements and/or investment vehicles.

While all information is believed to be reliable, it is not guaranteed by us to be accurate. Individuals should assume that all information contained in our newsletter is not trustworthy unless verified by their own independent research. Also, because events and circumstances frequently do not occur as expected, there will likely be differences between any predictions and actual results. Always consult a licensed investment professional before making any investment decision. Be extremely careful, investing in securities carries a high degree of risk; you may likely lose some or all of the investment.

USA News Group is Source of all content listed above.  FN Media Group, LLC (FNM), is a third party publisher and news dissemination service provider, which disseminates electronic information through multiple online media channels. FNM is NOT affiliated in any manner with USA News Group or any company mentioned herein.  The commentary, views and opinions expressed in this release by USA News Group are solely those of USA News Group and are not shared by and do not reflect in any manner the views or opinions of FNM.  FNM is not liable for any investment decisions by its readers or subscribers.  FNM and its affiliated companies are a news dissemination and financial marketing solutions provider and are NOT a registered broker/dealer/analyst/adviser, holds no investment licenses and may NOT sell, offer to sell or offer to buy any security.  FNM was not compensated by any public company mentioned herein to disseminate this press release.

This release contains “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended and such forward-looking statements are made pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. “Forward-looking statements” describe future expectations, plans, results, or strategies and are generally preceded by words such as “may”, “future”, “plan” or “planned”, “will” or “should”, “expected,” “anticipates”, “draft”, “eventually” or “projected”. You are cautioned that such statements are subject to a multitude of risks and uncertainties that could cause future circumstances, events, or results to differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking statements, including the risks that actual results may differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking statements as a result of various factors, and other risks identified in a company’s annual report on Form 10-K or 10-KSB and other filings made by such company with the Securities and Exchange Commission. You should consider these factors in evaluating the forward-looking statements included herein, and not place undue reliance on such statements. The forward-looking statements in this release are made as of the date hereof and FNM undertakes no obligation to update such statements.

Media Contact Information:
FN Media Group, LLC
Media Contact e-mail:  
editor@financialnewsmedia.com 
U.S. Phone: +1(954)345-0611

SOURCE USA News Group

This article is not professional healthcare advice. Please consult your physician for personalized medical advice.

New Health Journal (NHJ) reports developments in health research, health trends, and wellness options. Our nonprofit mission is to advance public health and wellness knowledge by publishing concise digests of useful and interesting health topics.