Sanofi Pasteur to Work with US on Coronavirus
Sanofi Pasteur, the vaccines global business unit of French drugmaker Sanofi, plans to work with the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), part of the US Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, to help health expedite a potential vaccine for the COVID-19 coronavirus.
As part of the process, Sanofi said it will also further investigate an advanced pre-clinical SARS vaccine candidate in its pipeline that could potentially protect against the new strain.
The Paris-based company said its future work with the US authority will build on its previous development work for the SARS vaccine. As iti explains, the new virus belongs to a family of coronaviruses that can cause respiratory disease. This includes SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome), which emerged in late 2002 and largely disappeared by 2004.
The drugmaker said its recombinant technology produces an exact genetic match to proteins found on the surface of the virus. The DNA sequence encoding this antigen will be combined into the DNA of the baculovirus expression platform, the basis of Sanofi’s licensed recombinant influenza product, and will be used to rapidly produce large quantities of the coronavirus antigen. This will be formulated to stimulate the immune system to protect against the virus. In non-clinical studies, the SARS vaccine candidate was immunogenic and afforded partial protection as assessed in animal challenge models, Sanofi’s vaccines arm said. Development work by Protein Sciences, which it acquired in 2017, is expected to provide a head start in expediting a COVID-19 vaccine.
As there is already a licensed vaccine based on this platform, research and the development of materials could proceed relatively quickly for clinical testing, the company said, adding that its platform also has the potential to manufacture large quantities of the vaccine candidate.
“Addressing a global health threat such as the newest coronavirus will require collaborative effort, which is why we are working with BARDA to quickly advance a potential vaccine candidate,” said David Loew, Global Head of Vaccines at Sanofi.
“While we are lending our expertise where possible, we believe the collaboration with BARDA may provide the most meaningful results in protecting the public from this latest outbreak,” Loew said.
In December 2019, Sanofi agreed with BARDA to establish state of the art US facilities for the sustainable production of an adjuvanted recombinant vaccine for use in the event of an influenza pandemic. The same technology platform will be used for the COVID-19 program.