Ethris GmbH is to collaborate with U.K.-based DIOSynVax to jointly develop a protective mRNA vaccine candidate against a broad range of betacoronaviruses.
The efforts will utilize Ethris’ mRNA modification and design technologies as well as its lipidoid nanoparticle (LNP) and stabilization platforms.
The collaboration is founded on a $42 million award to DIOSynVax by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI). The funding is to support the development of a broadly protective betacoronavirus vaccine through to a phase I/II clinical trial. Ethris will receive up to $20 million to design and manufacture the mRNA vaccine candidate containing DIOSynVax’s broadly protective, multi-virus vaccine antigen payload designs. This vaccine approach aims to provide protection from SARS-CoV-2 – the virus that causes COVID-19 disease – as well as other members of this group of highly pathogenic coronaviruses.
Ethris has developed a suite of technology platforms to overcome the limitations of existing mRNA medicines and enable future mRNA drug product distribution to all parts of the globe. The company has established its proprietary platforms to design and manufacture next-generation, well-tolerated, mRNA drug candidates with LNP stability. Ethris’ stabilization technology achieves best-in-class handling times of up to four days at room temperature, long-term storage potential at 2° to 8° Celsius due to lyophilization and a first-in-class resistance to mechanical manipulation.
Preventing severe disease
“This collaboration underlines the potential of Ethris’ platform technologies combined with DIOSynVax’s highly immunogenic antigen design platform to produce a broadly protective mRNA vaccine, with best-in-class handling and distribution properties, to prevent severe disease caused by current SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern, severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) and other members of the betacoronavirus family,” said Carsten Rudolph, CEO of Ethris.
“In the long-term, these combined technologies could produce vaccines that protect global populations against future pandemics.”
Jonathan Heeney, CEO of DIOSynVax, added: “We are delighted to be working with Ethris and the company’s highly differentiated, potent, thermostable and mRNA and LNP platforms, which will complement DIOSynVax’s cutting-edge capability to create vaccine antigen payloads that are designed and immunologically selected to broadly protect individuals from multiple pathogens with high pandemic potential and ultimately develop vaccines with highly improved handling and distribution properties.”
CEPI first announced its partnership with DIOSynVax in March 2022 following a funding call to support the development of vaccines that provide broad protection against SARS-CoV-2 variants and other betacoronaviruses. The goal of the partnership is to establish clinical proof-of-concept for a novel and broadly applicable vaccine candidate against all betacoronavirus members including Embecovirus, Merbecovirus, Nobecovirus and Sarbecovirus.
“Over the last three years coronaviruses have proven their pandemic potential. The best way to control COVID-19 in the long term, and to prevent another coronavirus pandemic in the future, will be with vaccines that can protect us against newly emerging coronaviruses and against variants of this one,” said Melanie Saville, executive director of R&D at CEPI.
“We are excited to see the progress from this collaboration, which has the potential to bring a new generation of vaccines to people around the world.”