ConserV Bioscience and eTheRNA will share their expertise to develop an mRNA-based vaccine for HIV.
The partnership will bring together ConserV‚Äôs services in identifying protective antigens and eTheRNA‚Äôs TriMix immunostimulatory mRNA technology and novel lipid nanoparticle encapsulation technologies.
‚ÄúWe will first collaborate on an mRNA vaccine against HIV,‚ÄĚ Tim Van Assche, director of Business Development and Alliance Management at eTheRNA Immunotherapies told BioProcess Insider. ‚ÄúIn case results are positive, the collaboration will be extended to other mRNA vaccine formulations based upon ConserV‚Äôs antigen portfolio and eTheRNA‚Äôs mRNA vaccine technology.‚ÄĚ
According to Assche ‚ÄúTriMix 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.‚ÄĚ
He continued: ‚ÄúThese three immuno-stimulating proteins activate the patient‚Äôs 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.‚ÄĚ
The vaccines will be manufactured at eTheRNA‚Äôs facility located in Niel, Belgium where all the firm‚Äôs 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, ‚Äúthe present plans of the research collaboration can be managed by the current staff.‚ÄĚ¬†Similarly, its facility does not need investment to service the deal. However, if the product surpasses Phase II clinical studies, upscale may be needed.
‚ÄúIn 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,‚ÄĚ Assche told us.