Deployment of novel, cost-effective SARS-CoV-2 vaccine technology

Edinburgh-based biotechnology company Ingenza has made a significant breakthrough in the race to develop and manufacture a cost-effective vaccine against SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for the current pandemic and COVID-19 disease.

Ingenza has been working closely with researchers at Oxford University and the UK CPI, Wilton, since the start of the outbreak, and the collaboration is continuing to make excellent progress.

The team’s latest milestone success is the efficient production, using engineered yeast, of the receptor-binding domain (RBD) of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. When displayed on a novel virus-like particle (VLP) – developed and produced by the Oxford team also using a recombinant microbe – the resulting prototype vaccine elicits a powerful immunogenic response in mouse studies.

The results stem from the Scottish company’s combination of bioprocessing skills, including decades of experience and expertise in molecular biology. Downstream assays are now underway to validate and optimise the production technology for preclinical testing and, if successful, this will lead to a novel and cost-effective fully-microbial biomanufacturing platform to support rapid scale-up and high adaptability for future vaccine needs.