The industry needs to rethink COVID-19 vaccine production according to Dyadic, which says its fungus-based expression system could supply the world at a lower cost than current mRNA offerings.
As the global COVID-19 vaccine rollout continues and companies like Moderna and Pfizer become household names, Dyadic CEO Mark Emalfarb told BioProcess Insider its C-1 cell protein production platform could potentially produce “antigens, quicker, faster, and in larger volumes at a lower cost.”
He continued: “We could have seeded the world with the same cell line in different locations, and very rapidly had enough vaccines for the entire world at much lower cost, or much larger quantities.”
According to the firm, messenger RNA (mRNA) based vaccines have required companies to build extra capacity to produce more enzymes and in some cases, even start from scratch.
“If you’re missing one piece of the puzzle, the puzzle is going to fall apart,” said Emalfarb. “And if you’re waiting for a plastic bag, or you’re waiting for an enzyme to be used for an mRNA vaccine, your whole manufacturing line comes to a halt.
“You basically fail the world by not running something else in parallel, to make sure that everybody in the planet had access.”
Based on the fungus Myceliophthora thermophila, the C1 gene expression platform is used in the industrial enzyme space, where it achieves productivity as high as 80 grams per liter for a single enzyme with high purity.
For COVID-19, Dyadic has been working to advance its own COVID-19 vaccine candidate DYAI-100. However, the firm is also working in partnership with others to bring a vaccine based on C1 to fruition.
Dyadic partnered with South Korean firm Medytox in July 2020 to research COVID-19 vaccines and has since expanded the collaboration to co-develop vaccines and/or boosters using C1.
Most recently, the firm partnered with India-based company Syngene International Limited to develop a COVID-19 vaccine candidate with the aim to immunize people against both current and future variants of the virus.
Dyadic’s chief commercial officer Matthew Jones said, “we’re actually going to start off going into countries that are low income countries, countries that otherwise couldn’t have afford biologics period, let alone much more expensive cold chain solution vaccines.”
He added that its C-1 technology “goes straight to the heart of effective, safe, cheap, and very affordable health care vaccines. And that’s a homerun we think for any platform.”
According to the firm, it is currently shipping Syngene its technology so that they can learn how to use it for manufacturing purposes and work at warp speed.
However, Emalfarb was keen to outline that this is “not just about India. It’s about getting the technology adopted on a global basis.”