The biotech company Novavax announced today that it has identified an “ideal” coronavirus vaccine candidate — and is set to launch the first clinical human trial in mid-May.
The candidate, NVX-CoV2373, proved its ability to produce immune responses and high levels of antibodies against COVID-19 in pre-clinical animal trials, the Gaithersburg, Maryland-based company announced.
“This is strong evidence that the vaccine created by Novavax has the potential to be highly immunogenic in humans which could lead to protection from COVID-19 and helping to control the spread of this disease,” Matthew Frieman, Ph.D., an associate professor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, said in the statement.
The “ideal vaccine candidate” was “selected from a number of constructs,” Dr. Gregory Glenn, president of research and development at Novavax, said in the statement.
The company is working with another Gaithersburg firm, Emergent BioSolutions, to help expedite the process of rolling out the vaccine.
The expected mid-May trial launch is “weeks ahead of schedule,” Stanley C. Erck, president and CEO of Novavax, said in the statement.
Last month, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations awarded Novavax a $4 million investment to support its efforts, with additional funding discussions underway, according to the statement.
That initial funding — coupled with the candidate’s promising early results — “put us in position to have preliminary human data in July,” Glenn said.
“This progress demonstrates the ability of our recombinant nanoparticle technology to rapidly create vaccine candidates for emerging viruses like SARS-CoV-2,” Erck said. “In addition, the performance of NVX-CoV2373 in multiple preclinical studies and testing gives us increased confidence in its potential to protect against COVID-19 disease.”
But the company will need lots more funding — hundreds of millions of dollars — to get its program through regulatory approval, the Washington Business Journal reported.
Source: New York Post