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Cobra Biologics to manufacture plasmids for COVID-19 vaccine trial

5 Oct 2020

Scancell’s DNA vaccine could provide long-lasting immunity against COVID-19 by generating protection against this and new strains of coronavirus.

Scancell Holdings, a developer of novel immunotherapies for the treatment of cancer and infectious disease, has selected international contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) Cobra Biologics to manufacture its COVID-19 vaccine.

The agreement covers Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) production of plasmid DNA needed to generate the DNA vaccine, against SARS-CoV-2, for use in a Phase I clinical trial in 2021.

Scancell’s DNA vaccine will target the SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid (N) protein plus the key receptor binding domain of the spike (S) protein to generate both T cell responses and virus neutralising antibodies against the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

This new vaccine has the potential to provide long-lasting immunity against COVID-19 by generating protection not only against this strain, but also against new strains of coronavirus that may arise in the future.

The GMP production of plasmid DNA represents a crucial development in the production of a COVID-19 vaccine for use in the Phase I clinical trial.

Increasing production of plasmids to large-scale and according to GMP requires management of the scale-up process to ensure plasmids are of therapeutic-grade quality.

Cobra’s long-established plasmid production platform along with in-house expertise will ensure the highest quality plasmids are produced for the trial. The initial stages of GMP manufacture are scheduled to start imminently.

The project is funded by an Innovate UK grant awarded to the consortium between Scancell, the University of Nottingham and Trent University, as previously announced in August 2020.

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