Exothera selected by Vaccizone to fast-track COVID-19 vax

The collaboration will see Exothera use its scale-X technology to develop Vaccizone’s COVID-19 vaccine to produce clinical material for clinical trials and toxicological studies.

The deal will see Exothera provide Vaccizone its full-service offering, which includes upstream and downstream process development, plasmid supply, and production. Additionally, the single partnership approach will facilitate small scale to drug substance and drug product manufacturing, paired with analytical toolkit assays set-up, CMC support, control validation, and DSP process development.

“Clinical manufacturing is expected to be performed in our campus located in Jumet (close to Charleroi, the Walloon Region of Belgium), fully equipped for the manufacturing of material for clinical trial. Exothera’s campus, formed by two plants, Nova and Vega, respectively 5,500 m2 and 3,100 m2, represents one of the biggest facilities in Europe dedicated to CGT development and manufacturing,” a spokesperson for Exothera told us.

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Vaccizone claims it has developed and patented a novel method for delivering antigens and bioactive compounds, that have the potential to increase the stability and longevity of complex biotherapeutics, such as vaccines, monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) and cell and gene therapies.

Vaccizone’s ASC technology is based on Antigen Presenting Cells (APCs)and can be used against a wide-range of various cancer types and diseases. It’s COVID-19 vaccine uses ASC protein microparticles to carry the tRBD domain of the SARS‑CoV‑2 spike protein, which then forms a fusion with human ASC protein. The firm said this ups the antigenicity of the COVID-19 antigen and also enhances its thermal stability.

“At Exothera, we want to help biotherapeutics developers to achieve their goals in a fast and affordable way. Through our full-service offering, we will be able to follow Vaccizone’s COVID-19 vaccine journey to the clinical trial side-by-side, from the plasmid manufacturer selection to the clinical material manufacturing and release, providing state-of-the-art technology, and quality and safety support,” Thibault Jonckheere CEO at Exothera said.

As Exothera is part of the Univercells Group,  Vaccizone claims it will benefit from its other companies, including Quantoom Biosciences, Univercells Technologies, Unizima and RLM Consulting.

Univercells is set to support Vaccizone with grant submissions and Unizima has the ability to provide deployment capabilities to set up manufacturing facilities in Turkey. Furthermore, Vaccizone and Quantoom Biosciences are in the process of establishing whether its ASC protein-based platform can be used for mRNA-based therapeutics.

“Exothera will intensify and industrial the production of Vaccizone’s COVID-19 vaccine with the disruptive scale-X technology. This innovative low-footprint bioreactor technology allows seamless process scalability while ensuring a constant or reduced manufacturing costs,” the spokesperson said.