Gritstone Oncology, a biotech firm developing vaccines, has announced that it is advancing the development of a second generation vaccine against Covid-19.
As part of the development, Gritstone and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health, have signed an agreement to begin clinical testing of the vaccine.
The Phase 1 clinical trials are expected to be conducted through NIAID-supported Infectious Diseases Clinical Research Consortium (IDCRC).
The company can now access validated SARS-CoV-2 epitopes through a license agreement with the La Jolla Institute for Immunology (LJI). SARS-CoV-2 epitopes have been identified through LJI’s studies of hundreds of Covid-19 recoverers.
Gritstone aims to use epitopes, its EDGE and vaccine platform technologies and develop a novel vaccine against Covid-19 containing Spike (similar to first generation vaccines) and additional viral epitopes offering good targets for T cell immunity.
The company will also include both self-amplifying mRNA and adenoviral vectors in the SARS-CoV-2 viral antigens. The vaccine, which is expected to have pan-SARS/coronavirus, claims that it can provide better protection against future coronavirus pandemics.
Gritstone co-founder, president and CEO Andrew Allen said: “Since inception, Gritstone has developed two core assets – cutting-edge T cell epitope identification and potent vaccines shown to activate a strong and broad immune response in humans – and both of these have been deployed in our quest for a second generation SARS-CoV-2 vaccine.
“We are excited to be working with the experienced teams at NIAID and the IDCRC as well as the experts at the Gates Foundation and LJI who have helped us design and pre-clinically test our novel vaccine concepts.”
The preclinical evaluation for the vaccine has been provided by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.