In brief: CDMO Cobra collaborates on coronavirus vaccine

Cobra Biologics and the Karolinska Institutet with EU Horizon 2020 emergency funding in hand have teamed to develop a DNA vaccine against COVID-19.

Contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) Cobra Biologics and Swedish medical university form part of a consortium called OPENCORONA aimed at developing and manufacturing a DNA vaccine against the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) set to be delivered to patient muscle to generate  a viral antigen on which the immune system then reacts.

The consortium, which also includes Karolinska University Hospital, Public Health Authority (FoHM), IGEA, Adlego AB and Giessen University, was one of 17 applicants out of 91 chosen by the European Union’s Horizon 2020, a research and innovation program that has dished out nearly €80 billion ($88 billion) of funding since 2014.

Image: iStock/Serhii-Akhtemiichuk

Cobra and the Karolinska Institutet have received €3 million in emergency funding to use Cobra’s 50 L DNA suite in Sweden to produce the plasmid DNA. The plasmid production will support the vaccine development process in accordance with GMP and is intended to speed the fight against COVID-19 by making relevant data and research results available to the wider scientific community.

“The need to find an effective vaccine is urgent and we are working as quickly as possible to find one,” said Matti Sällberg, head of Department of Laboratory Medicine, Karolinska Institutet.

“With this funding from the EU we will have secured a significant part of the financing going forward, which means that we can focus entirely on the research. It is a relief to know that we are now financed all the way to studies in humans.”