Edinburgh-based biotech company Ingenza Ltd. has made a significant breakthrough in the race to develop and manufacture a cost-effective vaccine against SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for the current COVID-19 pandemic. Ingenza has been working closely with researchers at Oxford University and the UK CPI, Wilton, since the start of the outbreak, and the collaboration is continuing to make excellent progress.
The team’s latest milestone success is the efficient production, using engineered yeast, of the receptor-binding domain (RBD) of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. When displayed on a novel virus-like particle (VLP) – developed and produced by the Oxford team also using a recombinant microbe – the resulting prototype vaccine elicits a powerful immunogenic response in mouse studies.
The results stem from the Scottish company’s unique combination of bioprocessing skills, including decades of experience and expertise in molecular biology. Downstream assays are now underway to validate and optimise the production technology for pre-clinical testing and, if successful, this will lead to a novel and cost-effective fully-microbial biomanufacturing platform to support rapid scale-up and high adaptability for future vaccine needs.
Ian Fotheringham, Managing Director of Ingenza, commented: “It is a huge privilege to be involved with our collaborators on this project and the progress we are making is extremely positive and exciting. We are proud to be applying our expertise in sustainable and cost-effective biomanufacturing to this global crisis and look forward to helping the world’s scientists develop a novel COVID-19 vaccine.”