Croda Partners on Vaccine Adjuvants

24.05.2023 - UK specialty chemicals company Croda has signed partnership agreements with US companies Amyris and Botanical Solutions Inc (BSI) to source sustainable vaccine adjuvants.

The first with Amyris is an exclusive license agreement for the supply of biotechnology-derived, pharmaceutical-grade squalene, which is commonly sourced from shark liver. Amyris’ sustainable alternative is derived from sugarcane and is said to provide an identical molecule with higher purity.

Amyris will manufacture and supply squalene to Croda. The UK group will also license the technology from Amyris to market, distribute and sell squalene as an excipient, or as an ingredient in formulated products for use in human and veterinary vaccines, drug delivery systems or nucleic acid delivery systems.

In addition, Croda said it will leverage its experience with pharmaceutical good manufacturing practices (GMP) and accelerate commercialization of the final packaged squalene products to its broad customer base.

John Melo, president and CEO of Amyris, commented: "We are pleased to partner with Croda to increase access to our sustainable squalene. Amyris currently supplies 70% of the world’s squalene market, saving 2.7 million sharks a year. With Croda’s partnership we believe we can have a similar impact on the vaccine market with our squalene.”

The second partnership with botanicals company BSI relates to pharmaceutical-grade QS-21 vaccine adjuvant. QS-21 is currently extracted from the bark of mature soap trees (Quilaja Saponaria) but BSI has developed novel technology that uses plant tissue culture to promote production in laboratory conditions.

“BSI and Croda Pharma are natural partners with a shared vision on removing the barriers that have prevented mass adoption of QS-21 for developing highly efficacious modern vaccines. Through this very exciting partnership we aim to supply kilogram-quantities of sustainable GMP QS-21,” said BSI’s CEO, Gaston Salinas.

Croda said QS-21 is used in several adjuvant systems to enable vaccines against diseases such as shingles, malaria and TB, as well as promising new therapeutic vaccine and immunotherapy treatments, such as for cancer.

Author: Elaine Burridge, Freelance Journalist