Biotechnology company Amyris has reported positive preliminary results in a pre-clinical study of its ribonucleic acid (RNA) vaccine platform for treating Covid-19.

Last October, Amyris and Seattle-based non-profit research group the Infectious Disease Research Institute (IDRI) entered a collaboration agreement and exclusive licence to advance a novel RNA vaccine platform, including Covid-19 vaccine development.

According to the preliminary data, IDRI’s Nanostructured Lipid Carrier (NLC) vaccine platform showed a significant level of antibody production against the Covid-19 spike protein using a self-adjuvanting RNA vaccine.

The Amyris/IDRI platform will progress to Phase I clinical trials with support from the Portuguese Government, as well as other collaborations.

The platform could offer manufacturing, storage and distribution benefits for the use and development of potential vaccines and to address the mutation of SARS-CoV-2 and other potential pandemics.

The company noted that the platform does not use hard-to-obtain components but uses commercially available lipids and detergents.

One of these lipids is Amyris’s sustainable sugarcane squalene, which would replace shark-derived squalene usage in vaccines.

The platform shows the adaptability of the NLC RNA vaccine delivery system without lowering RNA efficiency, Amyris said. This will aid in long-term refrigerated vaccine storage, and allow storage for several months at room temperature.

Amyris president and CEO John Melo said: “We need a fast-response pandemic-ready technology to address the current global crisis caused by Covid-19 and emerging variants of the virus, as well as to be prepared for any future pandemic.

“We want to be part of the solution and believe that the Amyris/IDRI platform can address many of the current challenges.

“We are in active discussions regarding US Government long-term, non-dilutive financing to enable the scale up of US production of our RNA vaccine and of our sustainable, non-shark semi-synthetic squalene production.”