Collaboration to develop COVID-19 vaccine
Cobra Biologics and the Karolinska Institute in Sweden have been awarded €3 million emergency funding by Horizon 2020 for research and development, and phase I clinical trial testing of a DNA vaccine against COVID-19, as part of the OPENCORONA consortium to support global efforts tackling the pandemic. Partners in the consortium also include Karolinska University Hospital, Public Health Authority (FoHM), IGEA, Adlego AB and Giessen University.
The funding application, ‘Rapid therapy development through Open Coronavirus Vaccine Platform’, was one of the first two to be selected by the European Commission, with 17 applications chosen out of 91, receiving €47.5million in total. The aim of the project is to manufacture a DNA vaccine, which will be delivered to patient muscle to generate a viral antigen on which the immune system then reacts. The ‘open’ project will utilise Cobra’s 50L DNA suite in Sweden to produce the plasmid DNA. The plasmid production will support the vaccine development process in accordance with GMP and will help to speed the fight against COVID-19 by making relevant data and research results available to the wider scientific community.
To date, no approved human COVID-19 immunotherapy or vaccine exists, and, in response to the outbreak, speed in therapy and vaccine R&D is critical. Harnessing each partner’s expertise and experience in reliable development manufacturing, the OPENCORONA consortium is using the DNA vaccine platform as it is currently one of the most rapid and robust vaccine platforms available. First trials in humans will begin in 2021, and will take place at the Karolinska University Hospital.