ConserV Bioscience and eTheRNA to develop HIV vaccine

ConserV Bioscience and eTheRNA will share their expertise to develop an mRNA-based vaccine for HIV.

The partnership will bring together ConserV’s services in identifying protective antigens and eTheRNA’s TriMix immunostimulatory mRNA technology and novel lipid nanoparticle encapsulation technologies.

“We will first collaborate on an mRNA vaccine against HIV,” Tim Van Assche, director of Business Development and Alliance Management at eTheRNA Immunotherapies told BioProcess Insider. “In case results are positive, the collaboration will be extended to other mRNA vaccine formulations based upon ConserV’s antigen portfolio and eTheRNA’s mRNA vaccine technology.”

Image/iStock: Manjurul

According to Assche “TriMix contains three mRNAs that encode three immuno-stimulating proteins. Once TriMix mRNA is taken up by cells after injection into a patient, TriMix is translated into the three immuno-stimulating proteins.”

He continued: “These three immuno-stimulating proteins activate the patient’s immune system. By co-administering mRNA encoding parts of a virus or tumor (antigens), TriMix boosts the immune reaction against these antigens which will target that virus or tumor.”

The vaccines will be manufactured at eTheRNA’s facility located in Niel, Belgium where all the firm’s RNA production is performed. In 2020, the firm added a 400 square-meter facility due to an increased demand for small scale research grade mRNA material driven by COVID-19 developments.

The collaboration will not require any staff changes at eTheRNA. Assche said, “the present plans of the research collaboration can be managed by the current staff.” Similarly, its facility does not need investment to service the deal. However, if the product surpasses Phase II clinical studies, upscale may be needed.

“In the first stage of the collaboration, the capacity of the current facilities suffices to manufacture product up to phase II clinical studies. In case of success and progression to late-stage clinical development, the capacity will need to be upscaled or alternative production sites will need to be activated. Initial discussions are already ongoing,” Assche told us.

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