Collaboration to increase COVID-19 antigen production for diagnostic kits and vaccine development
OXGENE and The Native Antigen Company have announced a collaboration to scale-up production of SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) reagents by combining OXGENE’s proprietary Adenoviral Protein Machine Technology with The Native Antigen Company’s antigen development expertise. Together, OXGENE and The Native Antigen Company will aim to scale their antigen manufacturing capabilities to deliver high-purity, recombinant proteins for the development of diagnostics and vaccines.
OXGENE and The Native Antigen Company are developing an improved, scalable approach to SARS-CoV-2 antigen manufacture. The Native Antigen Company was one of the first recognised suppliers of SARS-CoV-2 antigens in February 2020, demonstrating its ability to support the diagnostic and vaccine industries with high-quality infectious disease reagents. OXGENE’s Protein Machine Technology permits the scalable production of viral proteins in mammalian cells using its proprietary adenoviral expression vector. Through genetic modification, the adenovirus is ‘tricked’ into making SARS-CoV-2 proteins rather than its own, thereby harnessing the innate power of highly scalable viral protein production.
The Native Antigen Company’s recombinant SARS-CoV-2 antigens are produced in mammalian cells to ensure full glycosylation and proper protein folding, both of which are essential for full biological and antigenic activity. The rapid scale-up production of SARS-CoV-2 antigens is critical for the development of widely available diagnostic tests.
Unlike the PCR tests that are currently being used, these diagnostics will be able to confirm past infections and determine levels of immunity to SARS-CoV-2. This could be invaluable for disease modelling and public health policy, as true transmission rates and case fatality rates can be determined. These tests could also be instrumental for the diagnosis of healthcare workers who have been exposed to the virus to ensure that they have developed natural immunity before returning to work, and to help measure patient immune responses for the rapid development of a SARS-CoV-2 vaccine.
This collaboration builds on a long-standing collegiate relationship between the two Oxford-based businesses as they work towards developing more scalable technologies for the diagnosis of disease, and the cost-effective manufacture of high-quality diagnostics and vaccines.