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ARTES is convinced: defeating SARS COVID-19 will require different vaccines
Langenfeld, Germany: – ARTES Biotechnology, the German-based biopharmaceutical CRO specializing in process development for recombinant vaccines, is working on VLP vaccine candidate against SARS COVID-19.
Interviewed by Russia Today, ARTES Managing Director and noted microbiologist Dr. Michael Piontek replies on the questions regarding vaccine development and the possible needed timelines.
During April, ARTES announced it is developing a SARS Cov-2 vaccine that contains virus-like particles (VLPs) to target the COVID-19 variant. The vaccine presents sequences from the virus spike protein – with or without an antigen derived from the virus´ nucleocapsid protein – on the surface of METAVAX® envelope- or SplitCore capsid-virus-like particles (VLPs).
This would harness the production advantages of ARTES’ microbial expression systems and VLP platform technologies for the development of vaccine candidates. The resulting virus like particles from bacterial and yeast cell lines would be applicable as highly immunogenic subunit vaccines.
Dr. Piontek said one advantage of this approach is that it bases on proven and safe technology.
“This technology has been on the market for decades, used to produce vaccines, such as a Hepatitis B vaccine and Human Papilloma vaccine. These are just two examples of vaccines in the market produced in yeast cells as virus-like particles that act as dummy viruses or empty virus shells, used as an active ingredient for vaccines. Now we have adapted this platform to produce new vaccines, most recently a candidate against COVID-19,” he explained.
Dr. Piontek said the aspiration to have a vaccine available by end of 2020 is”really ambitious” but achievable.
“Principally, technically speaking, people can produce a vaccine candidate with modern genetic tools in a reasonably short time. And we’ve seen this with the mRNA vaccine candidates, which can be produced really fast. At ARTES, we have the knowhow to produce in our yeast cells VLP´s for pre-clinical tests in a couple of weeks. GMP manufacturing and clinical trials in human still takes most of the time.
“So having started in April, we are pretty much advanced right now. We have the cell line producing the vaccine candidate and the process know-how, so that’s not the time-limiting step. What took five to 10 years in the past is more the regulatory aspect of getting a product approved for the market, getting it through the preclinical trials, getting it through clinical trials, having long-term proof of vaccination effect of the protection against the disease.
“What people are talking about right now is cutting down the approval time so that the vaccine is available in the market. The question then remaining is, is it active?” said Dr. Piontek.
“What remains open and then will remain open for quite some time is if you develop a long-lasting immune response which protects you not only for a few weeks but maybe for years against this disease. So this will still take time before we can be rest assured that COVID-19 vaccine protects us for many, many years,” Dr. Piontek concluded.
About ARTES Biotechnology
ARTES Biotechnology is a pharmaceutical contract research & development organization that provides cell line and process development for and manufacturing of bio-pharmaceutical products. The company is a well-established partner for many of the biggest names in the industry, with more than 20 years of business experience, a track record of products developed for and marketed by clients, as well as safe, reliable and highly competitive microbial production platforms.
ARTES specializes in recombinant cell line, process and vaccine development from microbial expression systems, marketing the unique METAVAX® (dHepB-eVLP) and SplitCore (HepBcVLP) technology in combination with yeast and E. coli expression.
ARTES operates worldwide from its 850m2 S1 facilities in Langenfeld, from where it offers cell line engineering based on yeast (Hansenula polymorpha, syn. Pichia angusta; Saccharomyces cerevisiae) and bacterial (E. coli) expression platforms, lab scale up- and downstream process development, supply of non-GMP bulk material (API) for activity and toxicity tests and technology transfer to cGMP facilities and scale-up support.
More information at www.artes-biotechnology.com.
Click on Interview with Dr. Michael Piontek to see the full RT interview with transcript.
ARTES managing director Dr. Michael Piontek was interviewed by Russia Today (RT)