Double Dutch: Cristal and Intravacc team on vaccine tech

The partnership looks to develop vaccines using Intravacc’s outer membrane vesicles (OMV) tech and Cristal Therapeutic’s copper-free click chemistry reagent with an initial target being COVID-19.

The two companies will work together to develop novel vaccine programs with initial work during the evaluation period taking place at Cristal’s facility, followed by the further work conducted at Intravacc’s facility, both in the Netherlands. Financial details of the collaboration have not been divulged.

Initially, the partnership is targeting a vaccine against COVID-19. Despite an influx of vaccine approvals against this virus, a spokesperson from Cristal said the current ongoing pandemic requires continued research for vaccine and treatment options, especially considering the virus mutations that we are currently seeing.

Image: iStock/Yakobchuk

“In addition, as there is no data on the duration of protection and the world population is just too large for few companies to cover, it is imperative that others continue their research and development,” we were told. “We are excited that with this collaboration, we can support the global combat against the pandemic with our unique approach. Next to this, the initial project will serve as validation of our approach for any future vaccines that may result from the collaboration.”

And if initially successful, the collaboration aims to expand into further infectious diseases, and potentially into immuno-oncology indications.

Combined technologies

The vaccines will consist of Cristal Therapeutics’ copper-free click chemistry reagent, CliCr, in evaluation with Intravacc’s proprietary outer membrane vesicles (OMV) technology: nanoparticle spheres that consist of a lipid layer with proteins.

According to Cristal, Intravacc’s platform produces protein antigens in the same conformation as in the actual disease, without the risk of getting an infection. “The OMVs have intrinsic immune adaptive properties and can be skewed to the desired immune response for the particular disease. With the ability to express or couple any antigen (peptide, protein, carbohydrate etc.) the OMV vaccines will induce a more effective immune response against the newly introduced antigen.”

Meanwhile, Cristal’s own CliCr reagent – part of its CriVac platform – offers “physio-chemical properties that allow for fast access to the desired conjugated products with high conversion rates and high stability. CliCr works as a biological superglue, enabling the conjugation of a broad range of molecules in a speedier and more efficient way than other conjugations,” the spokesperson said.

The reagent combines the tunable nanoparticle with easy antigen conjugation, allowing for a superior immune response in a non-infectious and efficient way, producing potent and durable immunity.

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